Forage Yield and Quality of Semidwarf Barley
- Donald C. Rasmusson and
- Steve R. Simmons
Semidwarf barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) with enhanced lodging resistance has been developed for feed grain production. Its potential as a forage crop has not been evaluated. Our objective was to determine forage yield, forage quality, and grain yield of semidwarf barley compared with conventional barley cultivars developed for malting and feed grain production. Three semidwarf experimental barley lines were compared with two conventional height malting barley cultivars in the field at St. Paul, MN, on a Waukegan silt loam (fine-silty over sandy or sandy-skeletal, mixed, mesic Typic Hapludoll) and at Crookston, MN, on a Wheatville loam (coarse-silty over clayey, frigid Aeric Calciaquoll). Semidwarf barleys averaged 24% less stem and 29% greater inflorescence proportion than conventional barleys. Leaf blade and leaf sheath proportion for semidwarf and conventional height barley were similar. Semidwarf barley averaged 11% less whole plant acid detergent fiber (ADF), 8% less neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and 8% less acid detergent lignin (ADL) concentrations than conventional height barley. Whole plant crude protein concentration did not consistently differ for the semidwarf and conventional height barley. Whole plant NDF, ADF, and ADL concentrations were negatively correlated with inflorescence percentage (r2 ? 0.75) and grain yield (r2 ? 0.85) and positively correlated with stem percentage (r2 ? 0.48) and height (r2 ? 0.98). Forage and grain yields of semidwarf and conventional height barley were not consistently different. Lodging resistant, semidwarf barley had superior forage quality compared with conventional height barley and thus has good potential as a forage crop when grown alone or as a companion crop for forage establishment.
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