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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Forage Potential of Switchgrass and Eastern Gamagrass in the Eastern Native Grass Symposium

Authors
item Burns, Joseph
item Fisher, Dwight

Submitted to: Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: There is a tremendous interest in the native grasses for the eastern portion of the U.S. This comes from the need to clean up our streams, return our soils and environment to good health and to provide feed and habitat for wildlife and game birds. The native grasses, especially switchgrass and gamagrass. This publication reveals the potential of these grasses for the producers involved in beef cattle, sheep, goat or dairy production. Steer daily gains are nearly double those normally obtained from bermudagrass or bahiagrass. The reason for this difference in the nature of the plants is that animals can select a diet higher in energy. Further, the fiber fraction of the native grasses although very high (70 to 75% cell walls), is also very digestible averaging about 66% compared with about 49% for bermudagrass. Further, the cellulose digestibility averaged about 68% and hemicellulose 73% compared with about 52 to 54% for bermudagrass. Although the native grass is higher in quality than the bermudagrass, they are less productive and must be stocked with fewer steers per acre. These native grasses have potential for ruminant producers and are very beneficial to wildlife populations.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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