SFSDC contracted the Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF) to demonstrate alternate row companion crop planting when establishing forage seed crops. In spring 2014, meadow bromegrass and perennial ryegrass were planted with a double shoot ConservaPak airseeder as follows: without a companion crop in 9" rows; without a companion crop in 18" rows; in the same rows with Unity VB wheat as the companion crop; and with wheat in alternate rows. Unity VB wheat was also planted alone in 9" rows and 18" rows.
In 2015, meadow bromegrass seed yields were much higher when the crop was planted without the wheat companion crop. Seed yields of meadow bromegrass were somewhat higher when planted in alternate rows when compared to planting in the same row as wheat.
The meadow bromegrass plots were harvested again with the small plot combine in July 2016. Meadow bromegrass seed yields were not significantly different in 2016 in any of the planting methods showing that any impact of preceding treatments had disappeared and yields were very similar where established alone or in combination with wheat.
An economic analysis shows that Returns over Variable Expenses per acre were higher where meadow bromegrass was planted with no companion crop. Returns were slightly higher where meadow bromegrass was planted in alternate rows with wheat as compared to when planted in the same row as wheat. Overall annual returns were higher with meadow bromegrass than in the wheat alone followed by canola alone rotation. The full report including a detailed breakdown of the revenue and expenses is available on this website under Research. Look for 3rd Year Report of Evaluating the Placement of Companion Crops in Forage Seed Production.
Posted June 5, 2017