Third-Year Forage Yield Testing in Tall Fescue is Not Cost Effective
- Pratima Nepal and
- Edzard van Santen *
Small plot cultivar testing is an integral part of the decision-making process in agronomic research relating to release and production recommendation of cultivars. The objective was to evaluate duration of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) cultivar trials with respect to the information obtained. Tall fescue performance data from 12 states were obtained from eight different sources. Coefficients of determination were obtained from regressing three single-year and two 2-yr yields on 3-yr yield for each trial. First-year yields explained from 14 to 90% of the variation among cultivars after 3 yr of testing. Single-year trials or single-year data from multi-year trials are inadequate because of many low coefficients. Two-year yields explained from 0 to 100% of the differences among cultivars after 3 yr of testing. Twelve percent of the trials had coefficients ≤0.80 when the first two production years were used in the analysis compared to 38% when the last two years of a 3-yr trial were used. Therefore, a trial duration of two production years is the better alternative to taking data during the last two production years of a 3-yr trial. It is concluded that a trial duration of more than 2 yr is an ineffective use of scarce resources if total dry matter production is the only factor considered.
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