Development of buffalograss with improved forage quality and yield



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Texas Tech University


Buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm] has been, and will continue to be, a very important native grass species on the Shortgrass Prairie of the central United States. The major limitation of buffalograss as a forage has been low yield. In 1994 and 1995, 273 native accessions of buffalograss were collected and established at the Texas Tech UniversityPlant Stress Field Laboratory at Lubbock, Texas, in a randomized block design with three blocks. Lubbock is located at 33° 35' N latitude and 101° 58* W longitude at an altitude of 1003 m. The soil at the site is an Amahllo Fine Sandy Loam (fine mixed thermic Typic Paleustalf).

In 1997 and 1998, fifteen accessions of this germplasm collection and three cultivars were evaluated for forage quality and yield. Samples were evaluated for forage quality by using wet chemistry and NIRS to measure percentage crude protein (CP), cell wall, cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and acid insoluble ash. Forage yield was estimated by harvesting, drying, andweighing vegetation from 45 cm^ (1.5 ft^) sample areas for four harvests in both years.

Significant differences in yield of the entries were only detected at the June harvest of 1998. Significant differences in CP were found in four of the eight harvests, and significant differences in NDF percentages were detected in five of the eight harvests. Entries had significantly different percentages of cellulose and acid insoluble ash at two harvests, and hemicellulose at only one harvest. Results of these analyses were used to select top accessions for development of experimental cultivars of buffalograss with improved forage quality and yield.



Saint Augustinegrass, Forage plants