Establishment of Red Fescue Seed Crops with Cereal Companion Crops. II. Seed Production and Economic Implications
- T. G. Chastain and
- D. F. Grabe
The influence of companion crops on red fescue (Festuca rubra L.) seed production and net income over a 3-yr period was investigated. ‘Pennlawn’ red fescue was interplanted in 1982 and 1983 with cereal companion crops near Corvallis, OR, on Woodburn silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Aquultic Argixeroll) soil. ‘Yamhill’ and ‘Hill 81’ winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and ‘Hesk’ and ‘Scio’ winter barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) were planted in 15-, 30-, 45- and 60-cm rows at right angles to red fescue rows. Although companion crops adversely affected red fescue growth during establishment, first-year seed yield in the first experiment was not significantly reduced. Red fescue seed yields ranged from 490 kg ha−1 when planted with Hill 81 wheat to 654 kg ha−1 with Scio barley, whereas yield without a companion crop was 589 kg ha−1. First-year seed yield was somewhat depressed in the second experiment by the wheat cultivars and Hesk barley, but not by Scio barley. Yields ranged from 908 kg ha−1 for red fescue planted with Hill 81 to 1008 kg ha−1 with Scio, whereas 1177 kg ha−1 was obtained with no companion crop. Second-year seed yield was not affected by companion crops in either experiment. Establishment with Yamhill wheat increased net income over a 3-yr period by U.S. $508 ha−1 over red fescue established alone, whereas planting with Hesk barley produced the lowest increase in net economic returns, $211 ha−1. Red fescue seed production was most profitable when wheat companion crops were planted in 15-cm rows. This study demonstrates the potential for profitable and reliable establishment of red fescue seed crops with cereal companion crops in Oregon.
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