- Agronomic: clovers, triticale
- Crop Production: double cropping
Yield and nutritional value from forages is a challenge faced by New England dairy farmers. Environmental pressures are also shifting production methods and requiring greater attention to soil health and improvement through production practices. We propose a three-year field trial of a three-year double cropping system of winter Triticale and Red Clover across three trial plots. The goal is to develop a two-crop system that increases the total annual nutritional value per acre by generating consistent yield, while improving soil health.
The basis of the system relies on the fact that Triticale is aleleopathic to weed and grasses, a winter planting harvested in the spring will stunt/prevent weed growth. Red clover is not affected by triticale aleleopathy so a dense stand planted immediately after harvest into the triticale stubble will not require herbicide application. This stand can be maintained for 3 seasons total (including the year of planting), and in the 3rd year a triticale crop is planted to restart the cycle. If we rotate this system across 3 plots we could generate a consistent annual stock of triticale and clover forages.
Our farm is currently an equipment hub for no-till/cover crop equipment in a project from Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D), a three-year pilot project supported by U.S. Department of Agriculture NRCS through a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). We will leverage this equipment and outreach network on the double cropping field trial and share the results of the project with other farmers facing the same challenges.
Project objectives from proposal:
The project seeks to determine if a five-year field trial of a three-year double cropping system for Triticale with Red Clover will generate consistent yields year over year. The project also seeks to improve soil health by reducing nutrient leaching using Triticale for forage production. Nutrient leaching was previously identified as a problem in the field strips being used for this trial.
Research Question 1: Does double cropping triticale and red clover lead to Improved soil health when using no-till/cover crop equipment? We will test field trial strips of Triticale and Red Clover in field strips. A second variable of soil type will also be studied. Field trials will be limited to 15 acres of prime and important soils.
Research Question 2: Can a three-year trial of Triticale and Red Clover create a system where yield is equal and consistent each year at harvest?