The 2019 Forage Performance Trials Report

Dec. 20, 2019
Alfalfa variety trial

Author: Mark Sulc

The 2019 Forage Performance Trials Report is available online HERE and as a special insert in the December issue of Ohio's Country Journal.This report is a summary of performance data collected from forage variety trials in Ohio during 2019, including commercial varieties of alfalfa, annual ryegrass and cover crops in tests planted in 2017 and 2018 at South Charleston, OH.

The 2017 seeding at South Charleston had yields, averaging 6.81 tons/acre in 2019 followed by the 2018 seeding at South Charleston with yields averaing 5.44 tons/acre. Wet weather in the spring reduced alfalfa yields and stands across many parts of Ohio, but at the test site near South Charleston, OH the rainfall was not excessive, although very frequent in the spring through early summer. 

In the annual ryegrass trial seeded in September of 2018, winter injury differed among varieties. Visual stand density ranged from a low of 49% to a high of 98%. Forage yields in 2018-19 averaged 3.6 tons of dry matter per acre, near the long-term average at South Charleston. The best varieties yielded just over 4 tons of dry matter per acre and the lowest yielding variety 2.5 tons per acre.

A cover crop variety trial was planted on September 20, 2018 at the South Charleston location to evaluate different cover crop species and varieties for stand and ground cover development throughout the fall and for stand, ground cover, and final biomass production the following spring. Varieties of annual ryegrass, red clover, crimson clover, winter pea, radish, and hairy vetch were tested this year.

For more details on forage species and management, see the Ohio Agronomy Guide, Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 472, which can be purchased from Ohio State University Extension's eStores at