• Herbage Production and Quality of Grasses with Livestock and Wildlife Value in Texas

      Pitman, W. D.; Holt, E. C. (Society for Range Management, 1983-01-01)
      Large economic returns to management of grazing lands for wildlife are often realized throughout Texas. Management of perennial pastures for livestock grazing and seed for game bird feed is restricted by the limited number of forage species with desirable seed production characteristics. Selected grasses with the desired seed production potential were evaluated for herbage yield and quality under intensive management. Green sprangletop (Leptochloa dubia (H.B.K.) Nees), plains bristlegrass (Setaria macrostachya H.B.K.), and 2 selections of kleingrass (Panicum coloratum L.), Kleingrass 75 and Kleingrass 75-25, were harvested at 2, 4, and 8-wk frequencies at a 5-cm stubble height throughout the 1978 and 1979 growing seasons. In vitro digestible organic matter (IVDOM) and percent leaf were determined at each harvest date. Herbage yields were progressively greater with less frequent harvests. However, optimum yields of highly digestible, leafy herbage were obtained at the 4-wk harvest frequency. Kleingrass 75 herbage yield (2-yr average of 10,042 kg/ha at the 4-wk frequency) was highest followed closely by Kleingrass 75-25. Green sprangletop yield was limited by lack of persistence. Herbage yield of plains bristlegrass was low, but its tolerance of frequent defoliation and limited moisture indicate potential value in harsh environments. IVDOM of green sprangletop (2-yr average of 63.8% at the 4-wk harvest frequency) surpassed Kleingrass 75-25 (62.1%) and Kleingrass 75 (60.7%). Both kleingrass selections produced high yields of quality herbage.