Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2012
Publication Date: February 8, 2013
Citation: Goldman, J.J. 2013. Development of eastern gamagrass into the desirable grass it is today. Proceedings Society for Range Management Annual Meeting, Oklahoma City, OK, FEb. 2-8. Abstracts. p. 36. Technical Abstract: Eastern gamagrass is a robust, perennial warm-season bunch-grass native from the Texas panhandle to the east coast. It has long been recognized as a highly productive and palatable forage grass that begins growing earlier in the spring than most warm-season grasses and produces good growth following defoliation. In addition to producing high-quality forage, gamagrass has a number of other uses, such as hedge rows for reducing runoff and erosion, ethanol production for biofuel, phytoremediation of soil contaminants and as ornamental landscape plants. ARS scientists at the Southern Plains Range Research Station (SPRRS), beginning with the late Chet Dewald, have been instrumental in the germplasm collection, evaluation, breeding, and cultivar release of gamagrass. This presentation summarizes key SPRRS contributions to gamagrass improvement beginning with the establishment of a germplasm evaluation nursery in 1971 and the cooperation with the breeding and selection of the first cultivar released ‘Pete’. Other highlights discussed include the discovery of the seed increasing gsf mutation and its exploitation in the breeding program, breeding with both sexual and apomictic modes of reproduction, the release of true breeding triploid germplasm and cultivar ‘Verl’, developing establishment and management practices, and identifying potential insect threats. Current eastern gamagrass research activity at the SPRRS will also be discussed.