• Quality, Yield, and Survival of Asiatic Bluestems and an Eastern Gamagrass in Southern Illinois

      Faix, J. J.; Kaiser, C. J.; Hinds, F. C. (Society for Range Management, 1980-09-01)
      Six Asiatic bluestems (Bothriochloa spp.) B. caucasica, cv. Caucasian, B. ischaemum var. ischaemum cv. Plains, and 4 experimental strains of B. Intermedia × B. ischaemum (B,L,LL, and T), and an Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides cv. PM-K-24) were grown in southern Illinois on a Typic Fragiudalf soil common to the Central U.S. Transitional Zone. The grasses were evaluated from 1975 through 1977 for yield, crude protein (CP), and in vitro digestibility (IVD) to determine their potential as alternatives to "summer dormant" tall fescue (Festuca arundinaceae) in southern Illinois. Average seasonal dry matter yields ranged from 10 to 15 metric tons per hectare. Eastern gamagrass was slower to establish than the bluestems, but after the first production year it was higher yielding than the bluestems. Forage CP and IVD averaged near 11 and 50%, respectively, over the 3-year period. There was little difference between the grasses for CP, but IVD of Caucasian bluestem was significantly lower than that of the other bluestems and Eastern gamagrass. All the grasses survived the three winters that yield and quality data were taken, but in two subsequent severe winters only Caucasian bluestem and the Eastern gamagrass were winter hardy.