Yields of Intermediate Wheatgrass Cultivars
By John D. Berdahl, Forage Geneticist, Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, ND
Yield data in Table 1 are from a test that was dormant-seeded on summer fallow at the Central Grasslands Research Extension Center on November 21, 1989. Stand establishment in the following year was excellent. Individual plots in this study consisted of five 20-foot rows spaced 14 inches apart. Intermediate wheatgrass has moderate spread form rhizomes, and a single row of Russian wildrye was seeded between each plot to keep each entry separate. Plots were replicated four times. No fertilizer or herbicides were applied for the duration of the test. Plots were cut once each year, similar to management from haying, and regrowth was not grazed. Good stands were maintained, but nitrogen deficiency was apparent 4 years after the plots were established.
Reliant and Oahe were not statistically different in hay yields and were the highest yielding entries in this test (Table 1). In other tests, Manska typically has averaged 10 to 15% less than Reliant in hay yields. Manska produces more tillers with finer stems than other current intermediate wheatgrass cultivars, and has produced high average daily gains in grazing tests with yearling steers. Stands of intermediate wheatgrass pastures thin out under heavy grazing pressure, and it is necessary to allow pastures to recover in the fall. Intermediate wheatgrass has produced sustained high yields in grass-alfalfa mixtures used for hay. Reliant averages about 2 days later in heading date than other intermediate wheatgrass cultivars, and its maturity matches the late-bud stage of alfalfa better than other cultivars. Reliant produces higher hay yields than smooth bromegrass, and it more closely matches alfalfa maturity.
Other Cultivars Compared to Intermediate Wheatgrass
In earlier tests conducted
at CGREC, NewHy, a cultivar developed from a cross between
quackgrass and bluebunch wheatgrass, and Regar meadow
bromegrass have been compared with intermediate wheatgrass
in tests at the Central Grasslands Research Extension
Center. NewHy, developed at Logan, Utah, and Regar,
developed at Aberdeen, Idaho, have both persisted well under
hay management. Hay yields of both grasses have averaged
about 65% of intermediate wheatgrass (average yields of
Reliant, Manska, and Oahe). NewHy has salt tolerance similar
to tall wheatgrass but has better forage quality and
regrowth potential. NewHy has only mildly spreading rhizomes
in contrast to the overly aggressive spread of quackgrass,
one of its parents. NewHy would be a good choice for pasture
or hay on ground that has moderate salinity problems. Regar
meadow bromegrass, a bunchgrass that is distinctly different
from smooth bromegrass, has excellent regrowth potential
when rainfall is adequate and has higher forage quality than
intermediate wheatgrass. Yields of meadow bromegrass have
been relatively low in dry years.
Table 1. Dry matter yields of intermediate wheatgrass cultivars at Central Grasslands Research Extension Center.
|*Data for 1995 was not available|
Northern Great Plains Research
PO Box 459
Mandan, ND 58554-0459