In a preliminary investigation four small grain species, oats (Avena sativa) rye (Secalae cereale), wheat (Triticum aestivum) and triticale (Triticum x secalae) were planted alone and in combination with Lolium multiflorum cv Midmar under irrigation. The dry matter (DM) yield of Midmar was also compared to that of four other annual ryegrass cultivars. All species combinations were harvested at either three- or six-week cutting intervals and fertilized with either 200 or 400 kg/N/ha. As a group the pure ryegrasses had a greater yield potential than the small grain-Midmar group which in turn out-yielded the small grain group. Increasing cutting interval from three to six weeks had a far stronger positive influence on DM production than that of doubling the amount of nitrogen. Rye was the most successful small grain in being able to fill the winter gap in the fodder flow of Midmar ryegrass. The small grains on average contributed about 25% towards the total DM production in the small grain-Midmar mixtures. Oats, although initially slow, had significantly (P < 0, 05) higher yields than any of the small grains and had a longer, more evenly distributed growing season.
Keywords: avena sativa; cultivars; cutting interval; dry matter yields; ermelo district; fodder; italian ryegrass; lolium multiflorum; nitrogen fertilizer; nooitgedacht research station; oats; rye; ryegrass; secalae cereale; south africa; triticum aestivum; wheat; yield