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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 47 No. 2, p. 787-794
    Received: Oct 11, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): dphilipp@iastate.edu
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Production and Water Use Efficiency of Three Old World Bluestems

  1. D. Philipp *a,
  2. V. G. Allenb,
  3. R. J. Lascanoc,
  4. C. P. Brownb and
  5. D. B. Westerd
  1. a Agronomy Dep., Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011-1010
    b Dep. of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX 79409-2122
    c Texas A&M Agricultural Experiment Station, Lubbock, TX 79415
    d Dep. of Range, Wildlife, and Fisheries, Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX 79409. Approved by the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Texas Tech Univ. Pub. No. T-4-559. Supported in part by grants from the USDA-Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Southern Region, Griffin, Georgia and the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1, Lubbock, TX


Information on water use efficiency (WUE) of forage grasses is needed to select appropriate species for improved productivity in semiarid environments. Three old world bluestem species—[Bothriochloa bladhii (Retz) S.T. Blake ‘WW-B. Dahl’], [Bothriochloa ischaemum (L.) Keng. var. ischaemum (Hack.) ‘WW-Spar’], and [Bothriochloa caucasica (Trin.) C.E. Hubbard ‘Caucasian’]—were surface drip-irrigated with zero (dryland) and low, medium, and high levels to determine dry matter (DM) yield and WUE in 2001, 2002, and 2003 in Lubbock, TX. Water applied in the high irrigation level equaled 100% of grass reference evapotranspiration (ETo); low and medium levels were calculated as 33 and 66% of irrigation applied in the high level; the dryland treatment received no irrigation. Maximum DM yield was obtained with B. caucasica under high irrigation (18.0 Mg ha−1) vs. B. bladhii (15.2 Mg ha−1) and B. ischaemum (12.6 Mg ha−1) averaged over all years. The WUE of B. caucasica under low, medium, and high irrigation was higher than B. ischaemum in 2001 (P < 0.05), and B. ischaemum and B. bladhii in 2003. Maximum and minimum WUE of all treatment combinations and years were 24 and 6 kg DM ha−1 mm−1 in B. caucasica with low irrigation and B. bladhii under dryland, respectively. Results showed that differences exist in WUE among species of Bothriochloa under irrigation. On the basis of WUE and potential DM yield, B. caucasica may be better suited for forage production in the Texas High Plains than either B. bladhii or B. ischaemum

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