Grow nature’s power plant and realize tremendous growth potential with Gamagrass

Published on Mon, 08/30/2010 - 8:34am

Do you want to solve your pasture productivity problems?  Gamagrass may be the solution you’ve been looking for.  It’s adaptability to a wide range of climates and soils (upland to bottom, sandy to clay) earn it a place in your operation.  The tremendous regrowth potential of gamagrass and consistently high forage quality provide the key to unlock your maximum pasture profits.

Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides (L.)L.) is a native, perennial, warm-season bunchgrass.  This tall, robust grass has long been recognized as a highly productive forage grass of the eastern prairie with a photosynthetic rate that is among the highest reported in scientific literature for any species.

Naturally occurring stands have been found throughout most of the eastern half of the United States and west on favorable sites to Colorado.  It can also be productive in arid regions with the aid of irrigation.

Another unique characteristic of gamagrass is its ability to green up earlier in the spring and exhibit faster first year seedling growth than other common warm-season bunchgrasses.

Eastern gamagrass is nutritious and readily eaten by all classes of livestock.  High potential forage yields and palatability combine to make it a superior grass for haying or grazing.  Overgrazing has largely eliminated native stands of gamagrass from pastureland because it is favored over other grasses by grazing animals. 

Testing done at USDA-ARS Southern Great Plains Range Research Station, Woodward, OK, revealed the following results: In stands with adequate water and fertilizer, yields from three cutting (45 days apart – June 1, July 15, and September 1) commonly ranged from 7 to 8 tons per acre of 11% to 15% protein forage containing 65% TDN on an oven dry basis.

What about CRP acres?  When released at the end of the 10-year contract period, or if opened to haying/grazing due to drought, season-long acceptance by livestock makes it an excellent grass choice.  This is especially true for wetland CRP acres where choices of grasses with good palatability and water tolerance are very limited.  Investigate other government programs, which offer cost sharing on the establishment of eastern gamagrass.

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