Perennial Grass Tests in the 2016 Penn State Forage Variety Trials
Posted: February 1, 2017
The Penn State Forage Variety Testing Program offers growers in PA and the region unbiased yield and quality results on many different forage species. New varieties just entering the market, experimental varieties that are in the “advanced stages” of testing and older varieties that have stood the test of time and been reliable performers are planted in replicated trials and managed following the Penn State Agronomy Guide recommendations. The trials are normally conducted over the course of several years and the results are released to the public on a yearly basis both online and in print.
A new perennial grass trial is typically planted every other year at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center located in Rock Springs, PA. Yield results as well as quality analysis (nutrition) are released at the end of each growing season for three years of production. A trial normally showcases between 30-40 entries and consists of many different species including but not limited to Meadow Fescue, Tall Fescue, Festulolium, Orchardgrass, Ryegrass, Timothy and Mixes. The first cut/harvest of the season is taken as each variety reaches early-mid boot stage (before heading out) and a sub-sample of each variety is collected and sent to a private analytics laboratory for nutritional analysis. Each subsequent cut is made at approximately 30 days for a total of four cuts per season.