The bimodal distribution of growth of cool-season grass species generates an imbalance in the amount of forage available during the summer, which could be improved by using alternative forage species. Several chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) cultivars were evaluated for such purpose and contrasted against 'Pennlate' orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) under different grazing strategies in two experiments during 3 yr. In Exp. 1, 'Grasslands Puna' chicory and Pennlate orchardgrass achieved similar dry matter (DM) yields during spring (6500 vs. 7250 kg DM ha-1, respectively) and summer (3350 vs. 3900 kg DM ha-1, respectively). Between plantain cultivars, yields similar to Pennlate orchardgrass were achieved by 'Grasslands Lancelot' (7350 kg DM ha-1) in spring and by 'Ceres Tonic' (3150 kg DM ha-1) in summer. Grazing every 3 wk vs. 5 wk reduced DM yield in summer (1650 vs. 4450 kg DM ha-1, P < 0.001). In Exp. 2, spring DM yields of Puna chicory were greater than those of Pennlate orchardgrass (5750 vs. 3600 kg DM ha-1, average yield over years; P < 0.05). In summer, DM yield of Puna chicory relative to that of Pennlate orchardgrass varied between years. Yield of Lancelot plantain decreased during 2000 and 2001 following decreases in plant density. Our results suggest that most cultivars tested may not increase forage availability during the summer, which may be related to plant density losses. Of all cultivars, Puna chicory appeared as the most promising. Due to very low plant survival, the plantain cultivars tested may not be appropriate for perennial pastures in northeastern USA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science