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On Farm Impact of Fall/Spring Nitrogen on Winter Forage Yields

Grant Program: OAR
Agricultural Sectors: Dairy, Fields Crops & Forage
Region: Statewide
Project Duration: 1/1/2014 - 3/31/2015
Amount Awarded: $53,250.00
Lead Organization: Advanced Ag Systems
Other Organizations: Barney Consulting, CCE Albany County, CCE Columbia County, CCE Jefferson County, CCE Niagara County, CCE Washington County, Cornell University, Syngenta Seeds
Project Leader: Thomas Kilcer
Co-Leader: Quirine Ketterings
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Proposal Abstract

Annual forage crops grown all year conserve soil, improve soil health, retain plant nutrients, and increase total yearly yield of high quality forage in double crop systems. Winter grain forage after corn (Zea mays L.) has the potential to increase total yield 25% while opening windows to safely store nitrogen in plant tissue from off-cycle manure applications. Forage triticale ( X Triticosecale spp .) is used because of higher forage yield than other winter grains, and a harvest window matching first cutting haylage.  Preliminary study by the PI found higher planting nitrogen (N) results in higher yield with a planting date x fall N interaction.  Optimum fall N relative to the planting date and subsequent spring N is unknown for winter forage.  Agribusiness, farmers, and other sources, will establish 10 tests of fall N rates in winter triticale on 6 farms across NY in the fall of 2013.  The NYFVI portion starting in spring of 2014, will apply 5 N rates on these plots in April.  Harvest will be at flag leaf with yield and N uptake calculated.  This study will determine optimum fall/spring nitrogen based on planting date and provide CAFO farms with an environmentally sound basis for fall manure applications to supply N before planting winter forages.  Outreach will focus on information multipliers to maximize movement of yield and economic impact results from participating farms to other farms across NY.

Final Report Summary Statement

The project uncovered that fall planting date is clearly the most important factor in determining spring potential yield.  This is critical as farmers move from a cover crop to a winter forage management system.  For maximum yield winter forage must be planted before normal wheat planting times for the location of the field. Early planting increases fall yield which increases the number of tillers that provide the next spring yield potential.  Increased fall yield from earlier planting directly increases the amount of nitrogen taken up and safely stored in the plant for the winter.  This both reduces the cost of producing winter forage, and opens a new environmentally sound application window for unloading manure storages before winter.

Project Impact Data

Producers Participating: 4

Producers Advising: 6

Research/Extension Employed: 0.5

Gross Farm Savings: $585,000.00

Potential Industry Impact: $1,014,000.00

Articles/Publications: 3

Presentations: 18

Total Producers Engaged: 1500

Documents and Photos

Snow Mold Impact.docx
picture and description of snow mold impacting the plots at the Cornell Valatie Research farm. The NYFVI supported work clearly shows this is not a function of early planting or high nitrogen
CCA talk.docx
pictures of the first and last slide of the CCA presentation on the research from this project to crop consultants, agribusiness, and extension agents.
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