Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 10:15 AM

Screening Small Grains for Forage Potential in the Southern Great Plains.

Malay Saha1, Jerry Baker2, Francis Kirigwi1, and Andrew Hopkins1. (1) The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, PO Box 2180, Ardmore, OK 73402-2180, United States of America, (2) "Noble Foundation, Inc.", "POB 2180, 2510 Sam Noble Pkwy.", Ardmore, OK 73402, United States of America

Small grains are an important annual forage crop suitable for improved forage production in the southern Great Plains. The Noble Foundation’s small grain breeding program was initiated to develop improved cultivars with early fall-winter forage potential which have great value in this region as it allows producers better flexibility for earlier grazing or increased stockpiling. Single, double, and three-way crosses are made among the parents selected from local cultivars and world collections. Early generation testing is carried out on the Noble Foundation farms in south-central Oklahoma. Advanced lines are tested in multi-location trials alongside standard check cultivars. In 2004-05 evaluations, the total yield of rye, wheat, triticale, and oat lines varied from 8.0 - 6.6, 7.3 – 6.2, 7.4 – 5.6, and 7.1 – 6.2 dry ton ha-1, respectively. Early fall-winter forage yield constituted 25 to 52 % of the total forage potential. Advanced lines with high early fall-winter forage potential have been selected for further evaluations. A big range in seed yield was observed with oats having the widest (5.9 – 3.0 ton ha-1). Seed yield of wheat, triticale and rye lines varied from 4.9 - 2.7, 4.4 – 2.3, and 4.0 – 2.9 ton ha-1, respectively. ‘Maton II’, a rye line with eminent potential for early fall-winter forage yield, is in the process of release as a new cultivar. It averaged 55% greater fall and winter forage and 6% greater total forage than ‘Maton’ in evaluations in southern Oklahoma. In a trial at Iowa Park, TX, during 2005-06, ‘Maton II’ out yielded all the other rye, wheat, triticale, and oat cultivars.