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Forage Yield of Smooth Bromegrass Collections from Rural Cemeteries


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 45 No. 6, p. 2510-2516
    Received: Feb 4, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): mdcasler@wisc.edu
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  1. M. D. Casler *a and
  2. E. C. Brummerb
  1. a USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, WI 53706-1108
    b Dep. of Agronomy, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50010


Smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss) is poorly adapted to management-intensive rotational grazing because of slow and limited regrowth potential. In an effort to discover germplasm with tolerance to frequent cutting, smooth bromegrass plants were collected from fence and sod habitats of 30 rural cemeteries in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The objective of this study was to quantify, describe, and test the responses of paired fence and sod populations to different harvest frequencies. Thirty sod populations, 30 fence populations, and five cultivars were evaluated for season-total forage yield and regrowth percentage at Arlington, WI, and Ames, IA. Three harvest managements were used, with mean harvest frequencies of four, five, or six harvests over 2002 and 2003. Fence populations had an average forage yield 5.5% higher than sod populations, a difference that was fairly consistent across harvest managements, test locations, and state of origin. Variation in linear responses to harvest management made up 65 and 77% of the harvest management × population interaction for forage yield and regrowth percentage, respectively. For seven cemetery sites, the sod population was better adapted than the fence population to a more frequent harvest management, as measured by a more stable response to harvest frequency (−2.02 ± 0.10 vs. −2.67 ± 0.12 Mg ha−1 harvest−1). For nine cemetery sites, the sod population had a higher increase in regrowth percentage with increased harvest frequency (15.8 ± 0.5 vs. 11.9 ± 0.7% units harvest−1). Smooth bromegrass germplasm from some cemetery sods appears to have potential value for developing tolerance to frequent defoliation.

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