Forage Production and Nutritive Value of Oat in Autumn and Early Summer
- Francisco E. Contreras-Govea and
- Kenneth A. Albrecht *
Oat (Avena sativa L.) grown for forage in the northern USA usually is sown in spring and harvested in early summer, with rapid decline in quality after boot stage. This study was conducted to determine if there are differences in forage yield and forage quality between summer sown–autumn harvested and spring sown–early summer harvested oat, and to determine whether seasonal effect is similar among oat cultivars that vary in maturity classification. Oat was sown in summer 2001 and spring 2002 at two locations in Wisconsin and harvested in autumn and early summer, respectively. Oat sown in August produced 6.7 Mg ha−1 of forage when harvested 77 d later, about 1.0 Mg ha−1 less than that obtained from spring sown oat harvested 77 d after sowing. Autumn forage yield was similar among oat cultivars due to decreasing daylength and temperature. Maturation of summer-sown oat was delayed, resulting in 10 to 15% less neutral detergent fiber (NDF), 18% greater digestibility, and 250% greater water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentration than spring-sown oat. High WSC levels are of particular importance since oat forage harvested in autumn will likely be stored as silage due to poor drying conditions in autumn. Differences in forage quality among cultivars and between spring and autumn oat forage are associated with maturity differences. Oat sown in late summer, and especially the leafy, late maturing cultivar ForagePlus, can supplement high quality forage production in autumn.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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