Winter triticale or rye as a double crop to protect the environment and increase yield

Final report for LNE14-332

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2014: $143,822.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2017
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Dr. Quirine Ketterings
Cornell University
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Project Information

Summary:

Overwintering cover crops can conserve soil, improve soil health, capture end-of-season N and supply N for the following crop but farmers are more likely to plant such crops if there is a direct return in the spring (yield benefit). In fall 2010, a western NY dairy planted winter triticale after corn silage and harvested 2.3 tons DM/acre in spring 2011, increasing the overall per acre yield at the farm by 33%. This triggered more on-farm experimentation with the practice of double cropping in recent years, partially driven by the 2012 drought that left many farms with a shortage in silage.

Two main research questions remaining are: (1) how much nitrogen is needed at green-up to obtain these yields; and (2) how does double cropping impact field production economics and nutrient balances. In the spring of 2013, 44 on-farm trials were conducted statewide (NY) to evaluate performance of winter cereals on commercial farms and to specifically address the question: “How much N is needed at green-up to obtain economic yields?” The results showed optimum N rates that ranged from zero to about 120 lbs N/acre. Farmer feedback showed strong interest in continuing to pursue double cropping and on-farm N studies, realizing that N guidelines can only be developed when multiple years are included to capture year-to-year variability and geographic differences (soil types, growing conditions etc.). In this project, we conducted additional on-farm N rate trials, and analyzed forage samples, enabling more accurate assessments of the benefits of winter forages on farm diet formulation and the need for feed imports. In addition, we conducted economic analyses of double crop rotations. Our on-farm research partnership was expanded with new collaborators to expose them to on-farm research and farmers and farm advisors share their experiences with the project in the form of farmer impact stories, farmer quotes in extension articles and talks, and other outreach activities (field visits, etc.).

Introduction:

The drought of 2012 caused feed shortage among dairy and livestock farms throughout the state and the extremely wet spring of 2013 added low yield expectations in saturated areas this year as well. Inclusion of a winter cereal as cover/double crop can improve soil conservation and soil health, capture end-of-season N, add to the feed inventory, and spread the risk involved with growing a single crop for forage production. As a result of increasing awareness of the potential for significant yield increase due to double cropping in corn rotations, a growing number of farms started to plant winter cereals that could be harvested for forage while maintaining many of the benefits of the cereal as a cover crop, planted after corn silage harvest. One Western NY farmer shifted from use of oats as a cover crop to use of triticale: “It’s here to stay. It’s fed as 50% of the haylage DM of the ration from the end of May until the inventory runs out. The cows perform well on it and the herd managers are happy with incorporating it into the feeding program.” (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/publications/impactstatements/KenVanSlyke.pdf). A Northern New York crop consultant added. “At first the interest was for an emergency feed source. After a couple of tough years with tight forage supplies some of the guys were looking to fill the early spring gap before haylage harvest. The winter grain can do that, and the double crop concept fits CAFO farms well, as the winter cover is a best management practice. During winter dormancy the crop holds the nutrients on the field. This avoids losses to the environment and can save on fertilizer by utilizing manure.” (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/publications/impactstatements/PeterBarneyDoubleCrops.pdf).

Results from 44 on-farm trials conducted in 2013 showed an average forage yield of 2 tons DM/acre. But, optimum N rates ranged from zero to 120 lbs N/acre, making it difficult to recommend a given amount of N for all farms so with funding from NESARE were expanded the number of on-farm trials, conducted in partnership with farmers and farm advisors, developed a recommendation system, and conducted an economic analysis. A larger audience was reached through extension programming, both with written documents including factsheets and extension articles, and presentations at extension meetings and conferences.

Performance Target:

Performance target:

Fifteen participating farmers will grow 600 acres of double crops with an average fertilizer use of 60 lbs N/acre (40 lbs N/acre reduction), adding 2 tons DM/acre to the full season yield. Of all corn growers, 60% (representing 300,000 acres) will learn about managing double crops in corn silage rotations and 20% will indicate an interest in including double crops in the future.

Milestones:

  • Eight farmers and eight crop or nutrient management advisors will learn to conduct replicated N rate trials with cereal rye or triticale (on-farm replicated trials as part of the adaptive management process) and gain (additional) experience in growing winter cereals as double crops in corn rotations.
  • All farmers and farm advisors (trials of 2013-2014-2015-2016 combined; estimated 40 farmers, building on 33 farms already in the project with trials in 2013 and 20 farm advisors, expanding beyond the 18 farm advisors who participating in 2013) will gain a better understanding of winter cereal forage quality and management of forage quality.
  • Three groups of four farmers each (three geographic regions in the state) will work with the farm business specialist on the project team to conduct an economic analysis of the new rotation (corn-double crop combination) as impacted by yield, forage quality, and optimum N rate.
  • Three farmers and their farm advisors (also three geographic regions in the state) will share their experiences with the project and the double crop practice in the form of farmer impact stories, farmer quotes in extension articles and talks, and other outreach activities (field visits, etc.).
  • Of all corn silage growers (covering about 500,000 acres in NY), 60% (representing 300,000 acres) will become aware of the existence and results of the project by year 3 though work with their consultants, extension and farmers and extension, popular press articles, and other mailings.
  • Three hundred corn growers will return surveys (postcard survey) and indicate intend to use project results to evaluate N management and include double crops in corn rotations in future years (beyond the scope of the project).

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Debbie Cherney (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Jerry Cherney (Educator and Researcher)
  • Karl Czymmek (Educator and Researcher)
  • Greg Godwin (Researcher)
  • John Hanchar (Educator and Researcher)
  • Tom Kilcer (Educator and Researcher)
  • Sarah Lyons (Educator and Researcher)

Research

Hypothesis:

Our hypotheses are: (1) double crops can increase the season forage yield by 30%; (2) the optimum N rate for winter cereals grown as a double crop harvested for silage averages 50 lbs N/acre ranging from zero on manured and well-managed fields to 100 lbs N/acre on less fertile ground; (3) double crop forage quality exceeds the quality of corn; and (4) inclusion of double crops improves farm economics when yields exceed 1.5 tons DM/acre.

 

Materials and methods:

Our research objectives were to:

  1. Develop science-based land grant university N management guidance for winter forages based on crop response trials conducted across the state, covering a variety of soil types and crop management strategies.
  2. Evaluate the return to costs for growing double crops in corn silage rotations and estimate winter cereal forage value for dairy farmers.

 

Field trials: Nineteen additional N rate trials were added to the database of 44 that were successfully completed in 2013. Each trial had five rates of N applied at green-up in the spring (ranging from mid-April to early May) hand-applied with AGROTAIN-treated urea (0, 30, 60, 90, and 120 lbs N/acre) in 10 ft x 10 ft plots in 4 replications. Plots were implemented in a randomized complete plot design in four replication on each farm field in the study. The plants were hand-harvested at flag-leaf stage in May of each year (with 4 inch cutting height above the ground using three 2 square feet frames per plot), yield was determined, and samples were analyzed for crude protein and general forage quality indicators. Yield information was used to determine the most economic rate of N (MERN) for each individual trial. In addition, detailed information about soil and management properties were collected from each trial based on farmer feedback (information about rotation history, manure history, artificial field drainage, seeding rate and timing, etc.) and soil samples that were taken at green=up (0-8 inch depth; 10 samples per plot). Soil samples were analyzed for organic matter, pH, soil P, K, Ca, Mg, nitrate, ammonium, and Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test-N (ISNT-N).  The MERN was determined using a stepwise approach to separate individual trials into four main catgeories: (1) no yield response to N (group 1; 20 sites); (2) yield plateau exceeded the highest N rate in the trial (group 2; 1 site); (3) the MERN was below the lowest N rate (group 3; 7 sites); and (4) all other N-responsive sites (group 4; 35 sites). For group 4, a comparison of three statistical models (quadratic plateau, exponential, and square root plateau), using statistical, environmental, and economic criteria showed that the quadratic plateau model fit best and resulted in most stable predictions across scenarios. We conclude that the 4-category analysis is effective in determining individual site MERNs and that the quadratic plateau is best for determining MERNs and yields at MERNs so the quadratic plateau model was used to determine MERNs for all sites in group 4. 

Regression tree analysis was used for selecting parameters useful for predicting the MERN across all sites. In addition, N rate trials were conducted as part of a triticale and sorghum rotation trial in 2016-2017. For this rotation study, triticale was planted at four timings in the fall (early, mid, and late September and early October) following forage sorghum silage harvest. For this trial we used the same five rates of N of AGROTAIN® ULTRA-treated urea (0, 30, 60, 90 120 lbs N/acre) applied at green-up in the spring with harvest of the triticale at the flag-leaf stage in May. All forage samples were dried at 122°F and ground to 1 mm with a Wiley. Samples were analyzed for total N content and for in vitro digestibility and fiber content. Soil samples were analyzed for basic soil fertility, as well as for extractable ammonium and nitrate, and the Illinois soil nitrogen test (ISNT). Field histories were completed by the participating farmers (recording of rotations, manure history, etc.). Statistical analyses were performed with PROC MIXED of SAS (SAS Institute, 1999).

Economic analysis: To evaluate whether double cropping with winter cereals could be a profitable endeavor, five production scenarios were defined depending on crop (triticale or rye), tillage method (conventional, reduced tillage, or no-till), and seeding method (conventional drill, minimum-till drill, no-till drill, air seeding). The five scenarios are listed in Table 1.

 

Table 1.  Selected characteristics by scenario.

Scenario

Selected characteristics

Northern NY,Conventional tillage

Triticale; 2 disk passes; 1 finishing harrow pass; conventional drill with press wheels; mow, rake, pickup harvest

Northern NY, Reduced tillage

Triticale; 1 pass with a disk; minimum-till drill with press wheels; wide swath mow, ted, merge, pickup harvest

Northern NY, No-till

Rye; drilled into corn stubble with no-till drill; mow, rake, pickup harvest

Central NY, Conventional tillage

Rye; 2 disk passes; 2 cultimulcher passes – 1 pre, 1 post planting; custom air seeding; mow, rake, pickup harvest

Western NY, No-till

Triticale; drilled into corn stubble with no-till drill; mow, ted, merge, pick up harvest

 

Labor information (time spent in the field) and all costs of production were considered. Producers helped to describe the machinery complement, including size of tillage, planting and harvesting machinery, tractors, and self-propelled units for three dairy farm sizes: 100, 500 and 1,000 cows (Table 2). Scenarios reflected cultural practices, hours per acre by task, input use, and other factors typical or recommended for the region. Cost concepts, including variable and fixed costs, machinery costs based upon hours of use per acre, and others, were used to estimate costs of production for different scenarios. Lazarus (2014) provided machinery ownership and operating cost per hour estimates. All analyses reflect 2014 price levels.

Table 2. Selected machinery complement characteristics by scenario by farm size.

 

 

Farm size (number of cows)

Scenario

 

100

500

1,000

Northern NY, conventional tillage,

Triticale

Disk

18 ft

24 ft

30 ft

Finishing harrow

18 ft

23 ft

47 ft

Planter

15 ft, press wheels

15 ft, press wheels

25 ft, press wheels

Mower

9 ft

16 ft self-propelled

16 ft self-propelled

Rake

9 ft

9 ft

9 ft

Forage pick up

12 ft pull type

12 ft self-propelled

12 ft self-propelled

Tractors, power units

40 to 160 hp

40 to 315 hp

40 to 360 hp

Northern NY, reduced tillage, triticale

Disk

12 ft

20 ft

30 ft

Planter

12 ft, min till drill

15 ft, min till drill

20 ft, min till drill

Mower, wide swath

15 ft self-propelled

15 ft self-propelled

15 ft self-propelled

Tedder

15 ft

15 ft

15 ft

Rake, merger

2, 16 ft sections

2, 16 ft sections

2, 16 ft sections

Forage pick up

12 ft self-propelled

12 ft self-propelled

12 ft self-propelled

Tractors, power units

40 to 315 hp

40 to 315 hp

40 to 360 hp

Northern NY,

no-till,

cereal rye

Planter

10 ft, no-till drill

15 ft, no-till drill

20 ft, no-till drill

Mower

9 ft

16 ft self-propelled

16 ft self-propelled

Rake

9 ft

9 ft

9 ft

Forage pick up

12 ft pull type

12 ft self-propelled

12 ft self-propelled

Tractors, power units

40 to 105 hp

40 to 315 hp

40 to 315 hp

Central NY, conventional,

cereal rye

Disk

12 ft

25 ft

30 ft

Cultimulcher, packer

15 ft

18 ft

25 ft

Mower

9 ft

15 ft self-propelled

15 ft self-propelled

Rake or merger

9 ft

15 ft

15 ft

Forage pick up

12 ft pull type

not applicable

12 ft self-propelled

Tractors, power units

40 to 105 hp

90 to 315 hp

90 to 360 hp

Western NY,

no-till,

triticale

Planter

10 ft, no-till drill

15 ft, no-till drill

20 ft, no-till drill

Mower

9 ft pull type

16 ft self-propelled

16 ft self-propelled

Tedder

18 ft

18 ft

18 ft

Merger

9 ft

16 ft

16 ft

Forage pick up

12 ft pull type

12 ft self-propelled

12 ft self-propelled

Tractor, power units

40 to 105 hp

40 to 315 hp

40 to 315 hp

 

Research results and discussion:

Winter cereal N needs, yield, and quality: Nineteen of the 63 N rate trials had MERNs of 0 lbs N/acre (no additional N required for optimal yield), while the remaining 44 had MERNs ranging from 20-100 lbs N/acre, averaging 62 lbs N/acre. Yields at the MERN ranged from 0.4 to 3.1 tons DM/acre with an average of 1.8 tons DM/acre. The crude protein (CP) content was the quality parameter most impacted by N rate, while fiber and digestibility were less affected. Crude protein at the MERN ranged from 9-22% of DM averaging 16%. Forage neutral detergent fiber (NDF) ranged from 42-61% of DM averaging 52%, and the 48-hour digestibiliy of the NDF (NDFD48) at the MERN ranged from 67-84% of NDF, averaging 77%. For the rotation trial, the MERN was 76 lbs N/acre with a yield at the MERN of 1.8 tons DM/acre, similar to findings in the individual N rate trials. Forage CP at the MERN was 13% of DM, NDF at the MERN was 51% of DM, and NDFD48 was 67% of NDF. As with the N rate trials, in the rotation study that forage CP increased with additional N applied while NDF and NDFD48 remained constant over all N rates.

Nitrogen management of winter cereals for forage is important for acquiring both optimal yield and crude protein (fiber and digestibility are not as sensitive to N application). Even if the MERN is 0 lbs N/acre, not applying N in the spring could impact forage CP. Farmers may choose to supplement alfalfa or alfalfa/grass silage with forage winter cereals in total mixed rations (TMRs), so dietary protein is an important consideration when making fertilizer management decisions.

Economic analysis: The economic analysis showed breakeven yields (i.e. where the additional costs of growing a winter cereal for forage in rotation with corn silage equals the return) for four categories: (1) If the winter forage has no impact on corn silage yields and no additional N fertilizer is added to the winter forage, the breakeven yield is 0.7 tons DM/acre. Only one out of the 63 N rate trials (1.6%) DID NOT reach this yield; (2) If the winter forage has no impact on corn silage yields but 75 lbs N/acre was added at green-up, the breakeven yield was 1 ton DM/acre. Fifty-nine of the N rate trials (94%) reached at least this yield level; (3) If there is a 1 ton DM/acre reduction in yield of corn silage that is planted after winter forage harvest but no additional N is applied to the winter forage, the breakeven yield is 1.7 tons DM/acre (57% reached at least this yield); and (4) If there is a 1 ton DM/acre reduction in corn silage yield and 75 lbs N/acre was applied at green-up, the breakeven winter forage yield is 2 tons DM/acre (41% reached at least this yield). These results are shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Expected change in annual profit and minimum winter forage yield that returns an expected change in profit greater than or equal to zero by spring N application, tillage, harvest system, and expected change in corn silage yielda.

 

Conventional tillage

Reduced tillage, wide swath & merge harvest

No-till

Conventional tillage

No-till, merge harvest

 

Northern NY

Northern NY

Northern NY

Central NY

Western NY

 

Triticale

Triticale

Cereal rye

Cereal rye

Triticale

Spring N application

Same corn yield

1 ton DM/acre less corn

Same corn yield

1 ton DM/acre less corn

Same corn yield

1 ton DM/acre less corn

Same corn yield

1 ton DM/acre less corn

Same corn yield

1 ton DM/acre less corn

 

——————- Expected change in profit (dollars per acre)b ——————-

No N needed for winter cereal

175

10

219

54

229

64

226

61

235

70

75 lbs N/acre at green-up for winter cereal

121

-44

165

0

175

10

172

7

181

16

 

————— Breakeven winter cereal yield (tons DM per acre) —————–

No N needed for winter cereal

1.0

1.9

0.7

1.7

0.7

1.6

0.7

1.6

0.6

1.6

75 lbs N/acre at green-up for winter cereal

1.3

2.3

1.0

2.0

1.0

1.9

1.0

2.0

0.9

1.9

a Table values represent averages for three farm sizes (100, 500 and 1,000 cows). Nitrogen cost fixed at $0.57 per lb of N, and value of winter cereal as a forage fixed at $180 per ton DM. b Winter cereal forage yield fixed at 2.0 ton DM per acre.

 

Based on this analysis, we conclude that it can be profitable to grow winter forages in rotation with corn silage even if fertilizer is purchased or corn silage yields are slightly reduced, but that farmers should strive to plant the winter cereals for harvest on better yielding fields (while building soil fertility with use of winter cereals as cover crops where the yield potential of the winter cereal is (still) compromised by soil health.

Statewide N recommendations: Artificial drainage was selected as the most important variable for predicting N needs at green-up for winter cereals. Based on regression tree analysis, trials on fields with artificial drainage were more likely to supply enough soil N (i.e. require 0 lbs N/acre at green-up) for optimal yield. Fields without artificial drainage and no recent manure applications were likely to have a MERN of 60-90 lbs N/acre. Fields without artificial drainage and with a recent manure history were only likely to need the same 60-90 lbs N/acre if planted late (after October 1). The analyses suggested that if a winter cereal is planted earlier than October 1, and the field has a recent manure history, no N addition is needed. While additional N rate trials are needed to independently validate these results, the data showed that site characteristics play a role in N needs for winter cereals grown for forage. Therefore, fields need to be evaluated on an individual basis to determine whether N should be applied in the spring. As mentioned above, farmers should strive to plant the winter cereals for harvest on better yielding fields (while building soil fertility with use of winter cereals as cover crops where the yield potential of the winter cereal is (still) compromised by soil health.

 

Research conclusions:

This project has provided tangible evidence about how including winter forages in a double cropping rotation with corn silage can be beneficial from a production, nutritional, and economic standpoint. This project has also allowed for the development of a N recommendation system for growing winter cereals for forage, an important step in the process of recommending a new crop for dairy forage production in the Northeast. From the extensive winter cereal N rate trials conducted over multiple years and regions within the state, as well as feedback by farmers and farm advisors, it is obvious that basic agronomics (including site selection) and N management are both essential, as some fields do not require additional N for optimum winter forage yields, partly explained by artificial drainage, previous manure applications, and planting date. From an economic perspective, winter forage production can be profitable, even if corn silage yields are reduced slightly (a risk but not a given when planting is slightly delayed due to winter cereal harvest). The research has shown that including a winter cereal in a forage crop rotation can be beneficial to dairy producers in the Northeast but the winter cereal should be managed as a crop with proper attention to planting, fertility management, and harvest.

Participation Summary
47 Farmers participating in research

Education

Educational approach:

Trials were conducted on farms in a direct partnership with the farms and their advisors. Farmer and farm advisor experiences with the project were featured in impact stories (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/guidelines/impact.html) that now include 11 stories. Popular press articles were written (Eastern Dairybusiness, extension listserv’s, What’s Cropping Up? etc.), and posted to our NMSP website. The project has a website under the “New York On-Farm Research Partnership” (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/NYOnFarmResearchPartnership/index.html) where all extension materials were posted as they were developed (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/NYOnFarmResearchPartnership/DoubleCrops.html). Two new factsheets were added to the factsheet series:

In addition to the written materials, many presentations were given through the years in the project, at winter meetings, summer extension events and field days, and at conferences. In addition, several of the farmers in the project were on panels where winter forages and alternative rotations were presented. Two such examples are the farmers featured in the two most recent success stories: John Kemmeren (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/publications/impactstatements/JohnKemmerenDoubleCrops.pdf) and Curtis Martin (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/publications/impactstatements/CurtisMartinDoubleCrops.pdf).

John spoke about his experiences in no-till and with winter cereals and the project at the National No Tillage Conference in Indianapolis in January 2016. Curtis was on a farmer panel organized by Tom Kilcer this past winter.

 

Milestones

Milestone #1 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Eight farmers and eight crop or nutrient management advisors will learn to conduct replicated N rate trials with cereal rye or triticale (on-farm replicated trials as part of the adaptive management process) and gain (additional) experience in growing winter cereals as double crops in corn rotations.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
8
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
8
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
47
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
21
Proposed Completion Date:
October 30, 2017
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 30, 2017
Accomplishments:

We expanded the dataset to 63 fully completed on-farm N rate studies with cereal rye, triticale, and wheat. Each of these trials were initiated at green-up and harvested in May in collaboration with local consultants (four sites) and extension educator (two sites). The entire project included 47 farmers and 21 farm advisors (extension, government agencies, private sector consultants).

Data collected included yield and forage quality, and soil samples and field management parameters (field histories). All participating farmers received yield reports that summarize yields achieved, optimum N rates, soil fertility information and forage quality parameters. 

Forage quality analyses were completed for the field trials as well. Forage analyses showed no consistent impact of N application on any of the forage quality parameters except for crude protein levels which consistently increased with N applied (on average an increase of 1% for every 15-16 lbs of nitrogen per acre added).

 

Milestone #2 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

All farmers and farm advisors will gain a better understanding of winter cereal forage quality and management of forage quality.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
40
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
20
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
47
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
21
Proposed Completion Date:
October 30, 2017
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 30, 2017
Milestone #3 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Three groups of four farmers each (three geographic regions in the state) will work with the farm business specialist on the project team to conduct an economic analysis of the new rotation (corn-double crop combination) as impacted by yield, forage quality, and optimum N rate.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
12
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
4
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
12
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
5
Proposed Completion Date:
October 30, 2017
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 30, 2017
Accomplishments:

The economic analysis, conducted in collaboration with project counterparts in all major agricultural regions in the state, was published and presented in numerous extension talks this past year. Four extension educators worked with the farm business specialist on the economic analyses of the new rotation, summarizing data for three farm sizes and various combinations of farm management (from no-till to conventional till, with cereal rye or triticale, etc.). This analyses showed break-even yields ranging from an average of 0.7 tons of DM/acre to 2.3 tons DM/acre, depending on nitrogen needs and a potential for a yield cut in corn planted after harvest of the winter cereal (worst case scenario).

The findings were documented in a What’s Cropping Up? extension article and a new impact story (“When is it profitable to double crop corn silage and winter grains for forage (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/publications/impactstatements/Doublecropeconomics.pdf)?” that was added to the project website (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/NYOnFarmResearchPartnership/DoubleCrops.html). 

Milestone #4 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Three farmers and their farm advisors (also three geographic regions in the state) will share their experiences with the project and the double crop practice in the form of farmer impact stories, farmer quotes in extension articles and talks, and other outreach activities (field visits, etc.).

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
3
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
3
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
11
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
11
Proposed Completion Date:
October 30, 2017
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 30, 2017
Milestone #5 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Of all corn silage growers (covering about 500,000 acres in NY), 60% (representing 300,000 acres) will become aware of the existence and results of the project by year 3 though work with their consultants, extension and farmers and extension, popular press articles, and other mailings.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
4000
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
20
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
4000
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
30
Proposed Completion Date:
October 30, 2017
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 30, 2017
Accomplishments:

Results to date were presented at a large number of extension meetings including the Soil Health Workshops at the Big Flats Plant Material Center (estimated 120 people each year), the Agriculture In-Service (estimated 20 extension educators people each year), the Northeast Region Certified Crop Advisor annual training (90 crop advisors in 2015 and again in 2016), the International Agronomy, Soil Science, and Crop Science Society joint meeting (estimated 35 people regionally), the Northeast Regional Agronomy, Soil Science, and Crop Science Society joint meeting (estimated 30 people regionally), The Cornell Nutrition Conference (465 people preregistered; primarily nutritionists), the Aurora Research Farm Field Day (160-180 people attending each year), and the Northern New York Agriculture Development Program annual meeting (45 people in 2016).

Not listed initially, we also worked with Cornell undergraduates during the project. In addition to exposing the students to on-farm research and extension, this collaboration added three new factsheets to the series on winter cereals for forage:

The content of factsheet #88 appeared as a Whats Cropping Up? article:

Tang, Z, Q.M. Ketterings, K.J. Czymmek, S.N. Swink, and P. Cerosaletti (2016). Estimating Fall N Uptake by Winter Cereals Seeded as Cover or Double Crops after Corn Silage Harvest. What’s Cropping Up? 26(2): 20-22.

And there is a standalone calculator on our website as well: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/software/calculators.html (first calculator in the list).  

Milestone #6 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Three hundred corn growers will return surveys (postcard survey) and indicate intend to use project results to evaluate N management and include double crops in corn rotations in future years (beyond the scope of the project).

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
300
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
34
Proposed Completion Date:
October 30, 2017
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
October 30, 2017
Accomplishments:

We developed a survey that specifically targeted the farmers that participated in the on-farm research. Our thinking was that this was a group of producers that were informed about their experiences with the double crop and could serve as case study farms. The survey was returned by 30 farmers and findings were summarized in a journal article:

Quirine M. Ketterings, Shona Ort, Sheryl N. Swink, Greg Godwin, Thomas Kilcer, Jeff Miller, and William Verbeten (2015). Winter Cereals as Double Crops in Corn Rotations on New York Dairy Farms. Journal of Agricultural Science; Vol. 7, No. 2; 2015 ISSN 1916-9752 E-ISSN 1916-9760).

and as an extension article:

Ketterings, Q.M., S. Ort, S.N. Swink, G. Godwin, T. Kilcer, J. Miller, B. Verbeten and K.J. Czymmek (2015). Winter cereals as double crops in corn rotations on New York dairy farms. What’s Cropping Up? 25(3): 31-33.

We also used a survey approach to evaluate economics, published in: 

and another What’s Cropping Up? article:

Hanchar, J.J., Q.M. Ketterings, T. Kilcer, J. Miller, K. O’Neill, M. Hunter, B. Verbeten, S.N. Swink, and K.J. Czymmek (2015). Double cropping winter cereals for forage following corn silage: Costs of production and expected changes in profit for New York dairy farms. What’s Cropping Up? 25(4): 39-41.

The graduate student on our project, Sarah Lyons, recently completed the first informal interview of a nutritionist and will continue to pursue interviews with farmers and nutritionists with specific focus on the nutritional aspects of winter cereals.

Milestone Activities and Participation Summary

65 Consultations
5 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
10 On-farm demonstrations
2 Online trainings
13 Published press articles, newsletters
29 Webinars / talks / presentations
5 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

4000 Farmers
30 Number of agricultural educator or service providers reached through education and outreach activities

Learning Outcomes

11 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
11 Service providers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of project outreach
11 Agricultural service providers reported changes in knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes as a result of their participation
Key areas in which farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitude, skills and/or awareness:

We listed the number of farms participating in the impact statements. The actual number of farmers reaches is much much larger, through the almost 30 extension talks (some with audiences reaching 500), the 13 extension articles, and the numerous visits to the project website where all documents are accessible. In addition, our collaborator Tom Kilcer has given a large number of talks on double cropping and our collaborative work, reaching many thousands of farmers over the past several years. The survey reached 30 farmers with experience with cover crops (in addition to a cover crop focuses survey that reached 115 farmers in 2012). It is difficult to identify specific numbers here as we work with a multiplier approach through the crop consultants. Several of the farmers in the project have served as panel members in meetings with farmer and farm advisor audiences.

Performance Target Outcomes

Target #1

Target: number of farmers:
15
Target: change/adoption:

Farmers who participated in the trials all indicated an interested in continuing with double cropping. Actual acreage depends on the growing seasons; especially challenging are seasons in which corn silage harvest is delayed and the onset of winter is early. The nitrogen application rates adopted by the farmers ranged from no N to about 60 lbs N/acre (some locations need more N than others). We estimate an average N application across farms of 60 lbs N/acre, reflecting the average optimum N rate across sites. Average yield in the trials was just shy of 2 tons DM/acre.

Target: amount of production affected:

We estimate that about 300,000 acres of corn is accessible for winter cereal planting. While we don't have hard numbers, feedback from seed companies indicate greatly enhanced sale of especially triticale seed over the years. Farmers that are feeding the winter forage are generally very happy with cow response to the new forage.

Target: quantified benefit(s):

Greater soil health, protection of soil resources (reduced erosion, reduced N loss over the fall, winter and spring months), greater yield per acre, high quality forage (both offsetting the need for feed purchases and hence improving whole farm balances).

Actual: number of farmers:
11
Actual: change/adoption:

Acreage expansion under cover and double cropping; change in N application rate to the winter cereal at green-up (some higher some lower). These 11 stories are documented as impact stories and available at the project website: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/NYOnFarmResearchPartnership/DoubleCrops.html.

Actual: amount of production affected:

We don't have the total area under winter cereals currently. This is difficult to estimate as decisions related to cover versus double crop will be made in March of each year and year to year differences can be large, depending on weather. Given a challenging growing season both in 2016 and 2017, the estimate is that winter cereals that were established successful in the fall of 2017, will be harvested for forage in 2018 to address a forage shortage in some regions in NY due to the past two growing seasons (combined with a low milk price).

Actual: quantified benefit(s):

Farmers and farm advisors participating in the project all gained exposure and expertise in conducting on-farm N rate studies. As the trial setup and the crop involved allowed for easy detection of N deficiencies (and the lack thereof), this project had a high visibility. It explains that we did not lose a single on-farm trial during the project either (all were successfully harvested). Feedback from the seed industry as recent as last month is that seed sales have gone up, and a drive through NY shows that despite the challenging 2017 growing season, quite a lot of corn acres have been seeded to winter cereals after corn silage harvest.

Performance Target Outcome Narrative:

In total, 47 farmers and 21 farm advisors actively participated in the on-farm trials. Their feedback, for 11 documented in impact stories that were posted on the project website (http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/NYOnFarmResearchPartnership/DoubleCrops.html), shows that winter cereals are here to stay and the interest in learning how best to manage winter cereals is growing. 

Weather will always impact farmer ability to successfully plant winter cereals after corn silage harvest, but practice has shown that it is possible, and the economic analyses shows that it is also economically beneficial (in addition to spreading risk of crop failure by having two crops in the season). We interviewed 30 farmers (30 of 31 responded to the request) and documented their feedback in extension articles as well. See our project website for a full listing of articles.

47 Farmers changed or adopted a practice

Additional Project Outcomes

3 Grants applied for that built upon this project
2 Grants received that built upon this project
$60,000.00 Dollar amount of grants received that built upon this project
6 New working collaborations
Additional Outcomes:

We are building on this work by evaluating the potential for Brachytic Dwarf Brown Midrib Forage Sorghum (NOT sorghum sudangrass) as a replacement for shorter season corn in winter cereal and sorghum rotations. Recognizing that weather challenges (wet and cold springs and falls) have shown timely planting and harvest of corn can be challenging ad this impact the performance of the winter forages. A short-season sorghum and triticale rotation could be a suitable alternative to a triticale and corn silage rotation. We obtained two years of funding for work on sorghum. We are looking for other opportunities to expand beyond what we currently do and include more locations.

Assessment of Project Approach and Areas of Further Study:

For this project, the on-farm collaboration was extremely important. The development of protocols for establishment and data collection and harvest of the trials was essential in getting to many people involved. The sites where crops responded to N clearly showed the response with height and color differences that were impossible to ignore, so the setup allowed for quick farmer and farm advisor evaluations in the field as well. This most likely contributed to us not losing any of the sites that we established. The development of a recommendation system requires pulling of data from a lot of trials that are done the same way. This project allowed us to do that thanks to the great collaboration with the many farm advisors and the farmers. The list of impact stories reflect the success of the project!

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.