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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 102 No. 1, p. 171-178
    Received: July 2, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): Joe.Burns@ars.usda.gov
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Eastern Gamagrass Management for Pasture in the Mid-Atlantic Region: I. Animal Performance and Pasture Productivity

  1. J. C. Burns *a and
  2. D. S. Fisherb
  1. a USDA-ARS and Dep. Crop Science and Dep. Animal Science, North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27695
    b USDA-ARS, Watkinsville, GA 30677. Cooperative investigation of the USDA-ARS and the North Carolina ARS, Raleigh, NC 27695-7643. The use of trade names does not imply endorsements by USDA-ARS or by the North Carolina ARS of the products named or criticism of similar ones not mentioned


Eastern gamagrass [Tripsacum dactyloides (L.) L.] (EG) is a native, warm-season perennial grass with potential as pasture for the eastern United States, but its value has not been well studied. The objective of this 4-yr experiment was to estimate forage mass (FM) for EG that maximizes steer (Bos taurus) performance and pasture productivity. Five treatments (three continuously and two rotationally stocked) were compared with a continuously stocked ‘Coastal’ bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] control. The three continuously stocked treatments had mean FM (10-cm stubble) levels of 559 kg ha−1 (Short), 1103 kg ha−1 (Medium), and 1932 kg ha−1 (Tall). Rotational treatments consisted of two subdivisions with steers moved on a 10 to 14 d interval (FM = 1348 kg ha−1) and10 subdivisions with steers moved every 3 to 4 d with a 27 to 36 d regrowth interval (FM = 2061 kg ha−1). The average daily gain (ADG) from the Medium continuously stocked treatment was greatest at 0.90 kg (P = 0.02) and produced similar annual gain per hectare (735 vs. 749 kg ha−1; P = 0.08) as Short. Rotational pastures had greater FM than continuously stocked (1705 vs. 1198 kg ha−1; P = 0.03), but the least ADG (0.67 vs. 0.79 kg; P = < 0.01). Bermudagrass produced less ADG than EG (0.57 vs. 0.79 kg; P < 0.01), but gain per hectare was similar (662 kg ha−1) and stocking rate was greater (10.0 vs. 6.7 head ha−1; P < 0.01). Eastern gamagrass has potential as a special purpose pasture for the region when greater ADG is the goal.

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