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Commodities: Field Crops: Forages

Forage Variety Trial Information

Introduction
Plot Establishment and Management
Interpreting the Variety Trial Results
The Limitations of Forage Variety Trial Data
List of Current Variety Trial Reports

Introduction

As producers make the decision on which forage species and variety to establish, it is helpful to compare available varieties. The variety trials detailed on this site provide yield results for several (but not all) varieties that are available for the main forage forage species that are used in Georgia. Because of the diversity of soil and environmental conditions in Georgia, variety trials are performed at multiple sites. To best understand the productivity of these species/varieties, examine the data from the location that is most representative of the area where the forage will be established. For a better understanding of the yield results, weather data from each location are presented with the variety trial results.

Plot Establishment and Management

All variety trials were established in accordance with UGA recommendations specific to the evaluated species. Plots were limed and fertilized according to recommendations from the Soil Test Handbook for Georgia. Harvest timing and pest management practices for these trials were also in accordance with standard University of Georgia recommendations. Plots were arranged in a randomized complete block design with each individual entry replicated four times in each trial. The results were analyzed using PROC GLM in SAS 9.0. Entry means were separated using a Least Significant Difference (LSD) procedure (P<0.05).

Interpreting the Variety Trial Results

The results are presented in reports that are specific to a given species or class of species. The reports are in a printable form (pdf) with further descriptions and summaries of that trial or series of trials. Yield means followed by different letters (e.g., values like "2100 a" and "1200 b") are significantly (P<0.05) different. Yield means that are followed by the same letter (e.g., values like 2100 a, 2074 a, or 1950 ab) are not different enough to be considered to be truly different.

The Limitations of Forage Variety Trial Data

It is critically important for one to understand what variety trial information will and will not provide. Yield trials reported here are managed as if they were being harvested for hay production or a well-managed rotational grazing system. Thus, the results of these trials generally show the differences in the productivity of the different forage species and the varieties evaluated. Great care is taken to ensure that all entries are managed equally and that the yield potential of each can be realized in the given location and environmental conditions for the given year or set of years.

However, such yield data alone may reveal very little about:

  • The productivity of these species/varieties when grazed,
  • How these species/varieties will perform when soil conditions and management are better or worse than the conditions of the trial.

Nonetheless, forage variety trial data generally identifies differences between species and among their varieties. Most research has shown that varieties that stand out (either positively or negatively) in variety trials will show similar traits when grazed and/or subjected to poorer conditions. Therefore, variety trial data provide comparisons that generally relate well to performance on the farms represented by the location of the test.

List of Current Variety Trial Reports

Forage Species or Type
Locations Included
Duration of Trial
Alfalfa Athens, Midville, Tifton 2008-2010
Annual Ryegrass* Calhoun, Griffin, Marianna (FL), Plains, Tifton Annually
Corn (for Silage)* Blairsville, Calhoun, Griffin, and Tifton Annually
Forage Chicory Athens, Blairsville 2004-2010
Forage Sorghum (for Silage)* Griffin, Tifton Annually
Oats* Griffin, Marianna (FL), Plains, Tifton Annually
Orchardgrass Athens, Blairsville, Calhoun, Eatonton 2007-2009
Red Clover Athens, Eatonton 2008-2009
Rye* Griffin, Marianna (FL), Plains, Tifton Annually
Tall Fescue Athens, Blairsville, Calhoun, Eatonton 2004-2010
Triticale* Griffin, Marianna (FL), Plains, Tifton Annually
Warm Season Annual Grass* Griffin, Tifton Annually
Warm Season Perennial Grass Tifton 2005-2009
Wheat* Griffin, Marianna (FL), Plains, Tifton Annually
White Clover Athens, Blairsville, Calhoun, Eatonton 2004-2009
An archive of older perennial forage variety trials are located here.

* Part of the annual trials conducted by the Statewide Variety Testing Program.