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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Yield, Morphology, and Forage Quality of Warm-Season Perennial Grasses in Central Texas

Authors
item Sanderson, Matt
item Voigt, Paul
item Jones, R. - TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Journal of Range Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 13, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Many of the improved grasses used for hay and pasture in Texas are introduced species. The objective of this study was to evaluate several warm-season perennial grasses for yield, morphological traits, and forage quality in central Texas. Eight grass species were transplanted into field plots at Stephenville and Temple, TX, in 1993 and evaluated for two years. 'Ermelo' weeping lovegrass and 'WW-B.Dahl' old world bluestem were the highest yielding grasses. The higher yields of these grasses resulted from their ability to produce more and heavier shoots per plant. Buffelgrass, 'Carostan' flaccidgrass, and Oriental pennisetum grasses performed poorly at Stephenville and were invaded by weeds. These data indicate that WW- B.Dahl old world bluestem and tufted digitgrass should be useful in forage- livestock systems in central Texas because of their good yields during the summer. WW-B.Dahl matures later and produces more forage during the dry summer season than other old world bluestems. These grasses could significantly improve forage and animal production on several million acres in the south central U.S.

Technical Abstract: Warm-season perennial bunchgrasses frequently are used for hay and grazing in central Texas. Eight warm-season perennial grasses were transplanted into field plots at Stephenville and Temple, TX, in 1993. Plots were harvested 3 times at each location in 1994 and 1995. The number of tillers per plant, individual tiller weight, forage yield, and forage quality were measured at each harvest. Ermelo weeping lovegrass and 'WW-B.Dahl' old world bluestem [Bothriochloa bladhii (Retz) S.T. Blake] were the highest yielding entries in 1994 and 1995. Tufted digitgrass (Digitaria eriantha Stued.; cv. Irene) and kleingrass produced similar yields. Buffelgrass [Cenchrus ciliaris L. syn. Pennisetum ciliare (L.) Link; experimental line 409-704], Carostan' flaccidgrass (Pennisetum flaccidum Griseb.), Palar' wilman lovegrass (Eragrostis superba Peyr.), and Oriental pennisetum (Pennisetum orientale Rich; P.I. 269961) performed poorly at Stephenville and were invaded by weeds. Tillers per plant generally explained most of the yield differences as plant density was held constant. Ermelo lovegrass and WW-B.Dahl old world bluestem had the greastest number of tillers per plant. The lovegrasses, kleingrass, and tufted digitgrass had the highest detergent fiber concentrations. These data indicate that WW-B.Dahl old world bluestem should be useful in forage-livestock systems because of its later maturity and good yields. Tufted digitgrass may also be of value; however, additional evaluations are necessary.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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