Submitted to: Proceedings of the National Conference on Grazing Lands
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2003
Publication Date: 6/30/2004
Citation: Springer, T.L. 2004. New varieties of native bluestems and eastern gamagrass looming on the horizon. Proceedings 2nd National Conference on Grazing Lands, Dec. 8-10, 2003, Nashville, TN. p. 851. Interpretive Summary: Interpretive Summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Big bluestem is one of the most widespread and important forage grasses of the North American tallgrass prairie region. Except for five western states (CA, ID, NV, OR and WA), big bluestem occurs throughout the continental United States; whereas, sand bluestem grows in sandy soils from Montana to Iowa and from North Dakota to Texas. Eastern gamagrass, on the other hand, is recognized as a highly productive and palatable forage grass of the eastern prairies and if intensively managed with irrigation and nitrogen fertilization is among the most productive forage species. One research project at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Southern Plains Range Research Station, Woodward, Oklahoma is to breed and select native bluestems and eastern gamagrass for improved forage production and quality. Plant materials developed from this project are currently being evaluated in seven States (Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas) for their adaptation and forage production potential. Data from this three-year project (2001-2003) will be used to decide which plant materials will be proposed for variety releases. Preliminary data indicate promising new native bluestems for the central and southern Great Plains as well as, an eastern gamagrass line with superior performance throughout the eastern and southern United States.