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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Native Forage Grass Establishment and Use in Southwest Georgia
Year: 2005
Author(s): Owsley, C. M., Miller-Goodman, M. S., Kirkland, M., Vanzant, L., Surrency, D.
Source Title: Proceedings of the 4th Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 158-159
Original Publication:  
Abstract: In 1993, the Jimmy Carter Plant Materials Center (PMC), in cooperation with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) grazing land specialists, established long-term grazing demonstrations of ‘Pete’ eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides (L.) L.) and ‘Alamo’ switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) at the PMC in Americus, Georgia. Both native grass pastures were divided into 10 paddocks, and cattle were rotationally stocked through each set of paddocks. Heifers on ‘Pete’ eastern gamagrass achieved 1 pound average daily gain (ADG), and steers obtained between 1.5 and 1.75 ADG. Heifers on ‘Alamo’ switchgrass produced an ADG of 0.7 to 1.0 pound. In 1997, the PMC began a study in cooperation with Auburn University to follow establishment success and invasive plant species control in introduced and native forage grasses under different burn regimes. Six blocks of six 50 by 50 foot plots were sown with native and introduced forages at the PMC. Half of the blocks were burned every year, and half were burned every other year. Percent canopy cover was estimated each fall (1998-2002) and analyzed as a split plot design with year after establishment the main plot and burn frequency the subplot. In mixture with the native grasses, big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman ‘Earl’), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. ‘Cave-in-Rock’), and indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash ‘Americus’), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash ‘Knox City PMC’) cover was not different in year 1 (13%) versus year 5 (17%) after establishment if the mixture was burned every year. However, when burned every other year, little bluestem cover was higher in year 5 (38%) versus year 1 (16%). In mixture with sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata L. ‘Serala’), little bluestem cover was higher (P = 0.010) after year 5 when burned every year (32%) versus every other year (16%). Initially, bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum L. ‘Pensacola’) was the dominant invasive species in the native grass mix. Regardless of burn frequency, bahiagrass cover was reduced (P <.001) after year 5 (3%) compared to year 1 (26%), while cover of blackberry (Rubus cuneifolius Link) increased (P = 0.024) between year 1 (2%) and year 5 (14%).
Publisher: The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry, Lexington, Kentucky
Editor(s): T. G. Barnes