Effect of maturity at swathing of wheat, oats and barley on yield and quality
Riemer, Gregory Ernst
The effect of the maturity at the time of swathing of three cultivars of wheat, oats and barley were investigated over a two-year period. K.M.C. was measured as a gauge of maturity. The experiments on wheat studied the variables yield, H.W., 1000 K.W., germination percentage, grade and protein content. As well several variables associated with bread making quality were examined. These variables included sedimentation value, time to reach peak gluten strength, height of peak gluten strength and area under the curve of gluten strength. In 1975 the yield of Pitic 62 was higher than Glenlea and Neepawa. However, in 1976, the yield of Neepawa was highest with Pitic 62 lowest. The effects of weather conditions during the two harvest seasons were discussed. In wheat the effects of swathing at different stages of maturity were significant on all variables except area under the curve of gluten strength in 1976, protein content in 1975 and time required to reach peak gluten strength in 1975. Error partitioning showed that maturity at swathing had little effect on the gluten quality of Pitic 62. All the variables examined in Neepawa reached their peaks or stabilized within or before the 40.8% K.M.C. to 37% K.M.C. range. In 1976 swathing within this range resulted in dry grain two to three days earlier than unswathed grain. In Glenlea these variables were likewise found to stabilize in the range from 40.4% K.M.C. to 37.5% K.M.C. Swaths of Glenlea cut in this range dried three days earlier than the standing crop in 1976. In Pitic 62 these same variables stabilized between 35.4% K.M.C. and 33% K.M.C. High variability present in 1976 made small mean differences insignificant. For this reason there is need for further investigation with Pitic 62. In barley the variables yield, H.W., 1000 K.W., and percentage germination were examined. K.M.C. was measured as a gauge of maturity. The effects of maturity at swathing were highly significant on yield, H.W. and 1000 K.W. in both years and on germination in 1976. The H.W. and 1000 K.W. of Betzes were consistently higher than those of Bonanza and Conquest. The quality and yield of Betzes stabilized in the range of 38.3% K.M.C. to 31.5% K.M.C. Swathing at this stage of maturity resulted in a reduction in days to maturity of four days in 1975 and two days in 1976. All yield and quality factors in Bonanza had stabilized by 31.7% K.M.C. in 1975. However, with the dry conditions of 1976 the yield of Bonanza stabilized while the crop was very immature (52% K.M.C.). This behavior of Bonanza barley merits further investigation. In both years combining could have been advanced two days as a result of early swathing. The Conquest results were similar to those for Bonanza. Stabilization of all variables in Conquest was reached between 32.7%. K.M.C. and 33.6% K.M.C. Advances in maturity of two and three days were found in 1975 and 1976 respectively. Yield, H. W., 1000 K. W., percentage germination and grade were examined in oats. The effects of maturity at swathing were highly significant on the variables yield, H.W., 1000 K.W. and germination in both years. The best grades of all three cultivars were obtained when swathing occurred just prior to or just at full maturity. The greenish tinge in the kernels did not disappear until the kernels were almost ripe. In Harmon feed grades, yield, H.W. and 1000 K.W. stabilized by the range 34.1% K.M.C. to 30.5% K.M.C. Swaths cut in this range dried approximately eight and five days faster than the standing crop in 1975 and 1976 respectively. All yield,and quality factors (except C.W. grades) were found to stabilize in the range from 41.4% K.M.C. to 30.4% K.M.C. in Kelsey. An advance in maturity of eight days in 1975 and six days in 1976;was achieved by swathing early. The yield, H.W., 1000 K.W. and feed grades of Random had stabilized by 36.6% K.M.C. on the first swathing date in 1975. In 1976 these variables had stabilized by 35.3% K.M.C. Swathing at these levels expedited maturity by eight days in 1975 and three days in 1976. When the crop was in these critical K.M.C. ranges the kernels of all cultivars except Pitic 62 were considered to be in the stiff dough stage. That is the kernels could still be flattened when squeezed between the thumb and forefinger. The kernels of Pitic 62 which reached physiological maturity slightly later than the other cultivars were considered to be in the hard dough stage. At this stage the thumbnail was required to dent the kernels. Between year differences in the stages at which the various cultivars reached physiological maturity were generally reconcilable. The differences in data that existed in the two years were attributable to the somewhat abnormal weather conditions that prevailed during the two growing seasons and the coarser soil used in 1976. In light of these factors no recommendations can be made based on these experiments. The findings of this work do not, however, deviate substantially from the findings of other researchers. In general it appears that farmers could swath cereal grains earlier than they are accustomed to doing. While the crop is lying in the swath it is protected from many natural hazards. The crop should be swathed as soon as possible to insure against natural losses. There was a reduction in days to maturity in all cultivars. This is one of the major benefits of early swathing. Because the time saved may be small in some years this benefit may be lost if swathing is not initiated as soon as it is safe to do so.