Forage and Grain Yields of Wheat and Triticale as Affected by Forage Management Practices
- G. L. Miller,
- R. E. Joost and
- S. A. Harrison
Most research on the effects of grazing cereal grains has been conducted on hard red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and little information exists concerning the influence of forage harvest on the subsequent grain yield of other cereal crops. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of forage harvest management on subsequent grain yields of triticale (× Triticosecale Wittmack) and wheat to determine the growth stage for cessation of forage harvest to optimize grain and forage production. The effect of defoliation until Feekes Growth Stage (GS) 5.0, 6.5, or 8.0 on forage production and grain yield components of ‘Terral 817’ wheat, ‘Jenkins’ triticale, and ‘Morrison’ triticale was investigated for two growing seasons at Baton Rouge, LA. Plots harvested up to GS 8.0 produced the greatest forage yield both years. There were no significant differences in mean grain yield of the three cultivars between undipped check plots and plots harvested until GS 5.0 either year. A favorable combination of forage and grain yields in 1987–1988 was achieved if the final forage harvest was made at GS 5.0, but the highest yield combination in 1988–1989 was produced by continuing forage harvest until GS 8.0. Clipping significantly reduced lodging and disease incidence during the 1988– 1989 growing season. Defoliation until GS 8.0 resulted in reductions in number of stems m−2, number of spikelets per head, and weight per seed by 37, 11, and 18%, respectively, resulting in a grain yield reduction of 44% compared with the undefoliated plants. Forage utilization should be terminated by the first node stage to minimize grain yield reductions due to tiller mortality, shortened heads, and poor kernel fill.
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