The 2006 Ohio Forage Performance Trial Report will be available very soon at Extension offices, but is available now on the Internet.
In fact, there are several excellent Web sites where you can find performance data for forage varieties. While most trials are conducted under hay-cutting management, a few states do have a few tests under grazing.
First stop. The best place to start looking for information is at our own Ohio Forage Performance Trial Web site, www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/forage2006/.
The report summarizes performance of 56 alfalfa varieties, 22 orchardgrass varieties, 11 tall fescue varieties, six perennial ryegrass varieties, and 24 annual ryegrass varieties.
Trials were located at North Baltimore, Wooster, South Charleston and Jackson, Ohio.
Alfalfa yield topped the 10 tons of dry matter per acre mark for the first time in the history of the performance trials (at North Baltimore). The reported yield in those trials represents what was growing in the field, with no harvesting and curing losses. It demonstrates the potential for very high forage yields in Ohio!
If you look through the Wooster alfalfa data (seeded in 2006), you will see some of the new Roundup Ready varieties in the trial, denoted by a “RR” after the variety name or number.
We are still gathering data on these varieties, so we will have more details to share in the coming year.
Other states. Also, on the table of contents page of the report, near the bottom, you will find links to performance trial data from other states across the country (www.naaic.org/Resources/yields.html).
Another great site on forage performance is www.uwex.edu/ces/ag/alfalfa/, developed by the University of Wisconsin to compare alfalfa variety performance in university trials across 10 states and Ontario.
On this Web site, you can specify your own criteria for performance comparisons and summaries, including: what year(s), what state(s), and which two varieties you want to compare.
Based on your selected criteria, a summary will be generated for each variety compared to the trial average (by age of stand).
Comparisons. If the two varieties you selected were tested side-by-side in the same trial(s), it will generate a summary of those head-to-head comparisons across the years and states you specified in your criteria selection.
Data through 2005 has been loaded into that database. The 2006 data should be loaded into the database in the near future.
(Sulc is an associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at Ohio State University. Diedrick is an OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator in Wayne County. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem OH 44460.)