Location: Rangeland and Pasture Research
Title: Native warm-season grass breeding over the last century Author
Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 14, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: For 100 years, scientist from the USDA-ARS Southern Plains Range Research Station at Woodward, Oklahoma have developed and released or co-released with the USDA-NRCS and/or state agricultural experiment stations more than 75 improved cultivars of native and introduced grasses from several genera. These cultivars have been used throughout the southern Great Plains to reclaim marginal farmland, renovate degraded rangeland, and improve the efficiency of family farms and ranches. Cultivars such as, ‘Wheatland' grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) was released to farmers in Kansas and Oklahoma in 1931 and is still used in sorghum breeding today. An important trait of Wheatland was its short stature which made it possible to use a combine for harvesting. ‘Woodward' sand bluestem (Andropogon hallii), released in 1955, was the standard for sand bluestem on the southern Great Plains until the release of ‘Chet' in 2004. Woodward was superior to common sand bluestem in seedling vigor, leafiness, and seed production. Chet has all the characteristics of Woodward, but with significantly higher seed production. ‘WW-Spar' and ‘WW-Iron Master' Old World bluestems (Bothriochloa ischaemum) were released in 1985 and 1988, respectively, and were used extensively in the Conservation Reserve Program on the southern Great Plains. ‘Verl' eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) was released in 2005 and is unique among commercial eastern gamagrass cultivars in that it is a fertile triploid that reproduces predominantly via apomixis. The Southern Plains Range Research Station looks forward to serving the people of the southern Great Plains and the USA for another 100 year.