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Forage yield and nutritive value of winter wheat varieties in the southern Great Plains

Kim, Ki-Seung, Anderson, Joshua D.
Euphytica 2015 v.202 no.3 pp. 445-457
Triticum aestivum, crude protein, cultivars, energy, fiber content, field experimentation, forage crops, forage production, forage yield, growing season, guidelines, livestock, nutritive value, plant breeding, winter wheat, Oklahoma
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) has been widely grown as a winter forage crop in the southern Great Plains. However, development of wheat cultivars for winter forage production has not been a major goal of wheat breeding programs in the USA. Also, little information on forage yield and nutritive value of currently grown wheat varieties is available. The objective of this study was to test 15 wheat varieties to compare their forage yield and nutritive value and to identity superior varieties for winter forage production. The field trials were conducted during three growing seasons in southern Oklahoma. There were significant effects of variety, clipping-date, and environment for mean forage yield. The mean forage yield of the varieties ranged from 2,200 kg ha⁻¹for NF95134A to 1,655 kg ha⁻¹for Forage Max. The crude protein content varied from 24.2 to 20.8 %. When mean forage yield and crude protein yield were considered, NF95134A was the best variety for the tested regions. However, when low detergent fiber content and high energy value were considered, Forage Max was the best variety in the tested environments. When forage production, especially during the coldest months December through February was considered, NF96107A and NF96131 produced the best forage yield. This study showed that significant differences in forage yield and nutritive value existed among the winter wheat varieties and the results of the study could provide useful guidelines for livestock producers and for forage wheat breeding programs.