|Dewald, Chester - USDA RETIRED|
Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Special Publication
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 9, 2004
Publication Date: October 1, 2004
Citation: Springer, T.L., Dewald, C.L. 2004. Eastern gamagrass and other tripsacum species. In: Moser, L.E., Burson, B. L., Sollenberger, L.E., editors. Warm-Season (C4) Grasses. Madison, WI: American Society of Agronomy. Special Publication No. 45. p. 955-973. Interpretive Summary: Eastern gamagrass is rapidly becoming an important forage grass in the eastern and southwestern USA. Because of many years of involvement in eastern gamagrass research at USDA, ARS, Southern Plains Range Research Station, we were invited to write a book chapter for a warm season grass monogram. A summary of "systematics and morphology, distribution and adaptation, methods of reproduction, genetic diversity, breeding history and variety releases" was prepared. The chapter also includes "importance to agriculture, uses, management considerations, forage production, grazing and harvesting considerations, special pest problems, seed production and stand establishment of eastern gamagrass". This information will be useful for forage and beef production specialists, conservationists and students in agriculture.
Technical Abstract: Eastern gamagrass is a New World, native, warm-season grass consisting of rather tall culms with broad flat leaves. Vegetative as-well-as reproductive shoots arise from a thick 'woody' stem-base (proaxis). This grass has long been recognized as a highly productive and palatable forage grass (Rechenthin, 1951), however, its lack of importance as a major forage egrass was due to its sparseness (Hitchcock and Clothier, 1899). Within th last 25 years, eastern gamagrass has become a more important component of forage and livestock production systems. Gamagrass initiates spring growth earlier than most other economically important, warm-season grass; consequently, it can replace rangeland as a forage when rangeland is at a critical growth period. It makes excellent hay and silage and may be used to compliment beef production on native rangeland--whereby saving it for later use. Gamagrass is adapted to a variety of soil and environmental conditions. It will grow in lowland (wet) areas where many crops will not increasing the productivity of those areas while reducing erosion and stabilizing the site. Gamagrass grows extremely well under non-irrigated conditions where rainfall exceeds 80 cm and good production levels are possible in areas with as-low-as 40 cm of annual precipitation. Gamagrass is a good alternative to forage sorghum, sudangrass, and millets due to its perennial nature.