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Forage Yield, Nutritive Value, and Grazing Tolerance of Dallisgrass Biotypes

Venuto, B. C., Burson, B. L., Hussey, M. A., Redfearn, D. D., Wyatt, W. E., Brown, L. P.
Crop science 2003 v.43 no.1 pp. 295
Paspalum dilatatum, yields, nutritive value, grazing, cultivars, forage crops, Paspalum notatum, rotational grazing, Louisiana, Texas
Common dallisgrass (Poir.) is an important forage grass in many subtropical regions including the southeastern USA. The term dallisgrass is synonymous with the common biotype. There are other biotypes of this species but little is known about their forage potential. This study was initiated to evaluate accessions of five dallisgrass biotypes (common, prostrate, Torres, Uruguaiana, and Uruguayan) and ‘Pensacola’ bahiagrass (var. Parodi) for forage yield, nutritive value, and persistence in southern Louisiana and southeastern Texas, and to determine the response and persistence of the superior biotypes under grazing. Three years of clipping data were collected at Baton Rouge, LA, and College Station, TX. Most of the Uruguayan accessions were equal or superior to common dallisgrass for yield and nutritive value and all had superior stand persistence. The Torres and Uruguaiana biotypes did not survive after the first harvest season. Forage production and persistence of prostrate dallisgrass and Pensacola bahiagrass were better than expected. Six superior accessions of the Uruguayan biotype and common dallisgrass were evaluated under grazing for 3 yr at Jeanerette, LA. After 2 yr of rotational stocking, an average of 90% of the Uruguayan and only 53% of the common dallisgrass plants survived. This was followed by one season of continuous stocking and the average plant survival decreased to 75% for the Uruguayan accessions and 33% for common. Because the yield and persistence of the Uruguayan biotype was consistently superior to that of common, Uruguayan dallisgrass could provide livestock producers in the southeastern USA with a viable alternative to common dallisgrass.