Ohio Crop Performance Trials

Weather data summary for the 2019-growing season

Alfalfa Trials

Performance summary - Standard trials (insecticide applied)

Alfalfa Variety Trial - South Charleston, Ohio - 2017 Seeding

Alfalfa Variety Trial - South Charleston, Ohio - 2018 Seeding

Annual Ryegrass Trial

Annual Ryegrass Variety Trial - South Charleston, OH - 2018 Seeding

Cover Crops Trial

Cover Crop Evaluation Trial - South Charleston, OH - 2018 Seeding

Address of Marketers

Download files of yield data for 2019:

All Yield Trials - PDF for Printing

Alfalfa and Annual Ryegrass Yield Trials - Excel

Forage Variety Trials in Other States

2019 Ohio Forage Performance Trials


J.S. McCormick, Research Associate, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science

R.M. Sulc, Extension Forage Agronomist, Dept. of Horticulture and Crop Science

D. J. Barker, Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science


Joe Davlin, Manager, Western Agricultural Research Station, OARDC


This report is a summary of performance data collected from forage variety trials in Ohio during 2019, including commercial varieties of alfalfa, annual ryegrass and cover crops in tests planted in 2017 and 2018 at South Charleston, OH. For more details on forage species and management, see the Ohio Agronomy Guide, Ohio State University Extension Bulletin 472, which can be purchased from Ohio State University Extension's eStores at http://estore.osu-extension.org/. Find additional information at https://forages.osu.edu/.

Interpreting Yield Data

Least significant differences (LSD) are listed at the bottom of the tables along with the trial average (mean). Differences between two varieties are considered statistically significant if the difference is equal to or greater than the LSD value. If a variety yields more than another variety by the LSD value, then we are 95% sure that the yield difference is not due to chance.

The CV value or coefficient of variation, listed at the bottom of each table is used as a measure of the precision of the experiment. Lower CV values will generally relate to lower experimental error in the trial. However, higher CV values can also occur simply as a result of the mean yield being low (eg. due to weather conditions), because the CV is a function of the mean yield. So a higher CV will often occur where yields are low despite there being no increase in experimental error.

Results reported here would be most applicable under environmental and management conditions similar to those of the tests, on similar soils. The relative yields of all forage varieties are affected by crop management and by environmental factors including soil type, winter conditions, soil moisture conditions, diseases, and insects. 

Summary of 2019 Growing Conditions

Rainfall was quite variable across the season at South Charleston. April rainfall was very regular but below the normal for the month, May and June were above normal rainfall, and the remainder of the growing season was drier than normal. Total rainfall for April through September was 4.17 below average. Average monthly temperatures were above normal for most of the year except in June and August.


The 2017 seeding at South Charleston had the highest yields in 2019, averaging 6.81 tons/acre followed by the 2018 seeding at South Charleston, at 5.44 tons/acre. Weather and weeds slowed growth of the 2018 trial therefore data was not collected in 2018. Insecticide applications were used for control of potato leafhopper (PLH) and to control alfalfa weevil at South Charleston.

  Annual Ryegrass

An annual ryegrass trial was planted in September 2018. There was winter injury that varied among varieties. Forage yields in 2018-19 were near the long-term average at this location. Annual ryegrass is a cool-season annual bunchgrass that is highly palatable and digestible. It has high seedling vigor.

  Cover Crop

A cover crop variety trial was planted on September 20, 2018 at the South Charleston location to evaluate different cover crop species and varieties for stand and ground cover development throughout the fall and for stand, ground cover, and final biomass production the following spring.

The conditions for this trial are not meant to be representative of cover crop planting following soybeans or corn in Ohio, because it was planted in a well-prepared seedbed (conventionally tilled) in early September, well before soybean or corn harvest timing in Ohio.

This trial more closely represents what would be possible with cover crops planted on land that was in winter wheat and laid fallow after the July grain harvest, although even in that situation no-till planting of the cover crops in September would be preferable for conservation purposes. Therefore, the results from this trial should be interpreted and applied with caution to the situation intended for a cover crop on farm. The results do demonstrate the relative speed of fall ground cover establishment of different varieties planted in early September, and which ones survive the winter and grow in the spring (thus needing to be terminated before grain crop planting).




Inclusion of entries in Ohio Forage Performance Trials does not constitute an endorsement of a particular entry by The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, or Ohio State University Extension. Where trade names appear, no discrimination is intended, and no endorsement is implied by The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, or Ohio State University Extension.

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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Roger Rennekamp, Director, Ohio State University Extension.