Evaluating small grains for late season and early spring forage

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2010: $7,521.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Northeast
State: New Hampshire
Project Leader:
Carl Majewski
UNH Cooperative Extension


  • Agronomic: corn, spelt, wheat
  • Animals: bovine
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing - rotational, winter forage
  • Crop Production: crop rotation
  • Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, integrated crop and livestock systems

    Proposal abstract:

    The profitability of animal-based agriculture in the Northeast depends heavily on the ability to produce high-quality forages in order to reduce the need for purchased feeds that increase input costs. Therefore, any practice that extends the season for producing forage should be beneficial. Winter small grains have emerged as a good fit in the Northeast. Sown in late summer, they could provide forage into late fall, and again in spring before cool season grasses and legumes start growing. Or, they could be sown to provide winter cover after row crops, providing additional forage the following spring prior to planting corn. While there has been considerable research in integrating small grains on dairy or livestock operations, it remains to be seen which species are best suited for grazing or double-cropping in the Northeast. This project involves establishing four different species of small grains at two cooperating farms in New Hampshire. We will evaluate yield, quality, and winter-hardiness under both managed grazing and double-cropping with corn. The information from this project will encourage producers to integrate small grains on their own operations, and it will provide information that enables producers to use them effectively. Outreach will involve developing a fact sheet and presenting information at a field day and at crop meetings.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    -to evaluate the yield, quality, and winterhardiness of winter grains in New Hampshire
    -to evaluate the suitability of small grains in a double-croppping system with silage corn
    -to evaluate small grains as a source of late fall and early spring forage on pastures

    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.