|| Krizek, D. T., Ritchie, J. C., Reeves, J. B., Sadeghi, A. M., Foy, C. D.
||A field study was conducted at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center from 1997 to 2001 to determine the yield and forage quality of ’Pete’ eastern gamagrass grown on an acid, compact soil. Total yield from two cuttings in 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2001 on unlimed, no-till sites averaged 3801, 4469, 6007, and 3039 kg/ha, respectively. A single cutting in July 1999 averaged 1981 kg/ha. In general, yields varied with position on the slope, bulk density, and thickness of the topsoil, but not with pH. Average yield was generally lowest at the top of the slope were the thickness of the Ap horizon was thinner, the soil was strongly acid (pH 4.3-4.4), and the bulk density and penetrometer resistance were generally greatest. The silt content and bulk density of the soil and the distribution of rainfall appeared to be important determinants of yield. Significant differences in yield were found among sites, year, and harvest date. Acid compact soils had little or no effect on forage quality and composition with only slight differences as a result of site. Time of harvest had a greater effect on forage quality than site. Overall, eastern gamagrass plants had a high fiber content as reflected by high values of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) but were not particularly high in lignin content. Crude protein and digestibility were relatively high although not as much as reported for some forage crops. Despite stress imposed by reduced topsoil, low pH, high bulk density, saturated soils in the spring, and deficits in soil moisture in the summer, eastern gamagrass produced relatively high yields with good forage quality. These findings indicate that it is ideally suited for reclamation of acid, compact soils and for producing high yields of forage on marginal lands.