Poster Number 418
Monday, 6 October 2008
George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall E
Common dallisgrass, Paspalum dilatatum, is an important forage grass in the southern United States because of its forage quality, palatability, and ability to grow in mixed species stands. However, the grass produces less forage than other perennial warm-season grasses which reduces its popularity and use. Uruguayan dallisgrass, a morphologically different P. dilatatum biotype, was identified and collected in South America in the 1970s. This biotype grows more upright and is much more robust than common dallisgrass. Several accessions were evaluated and compared to common for forage production, adaptation, persistence, and forage quality at three locations in Texas and two locations in Louisiana. At all locations, the Uruguayan accessions produced significantly more dry matter than common and forage quality was not significantly different. Persistence of the Uruguayan accessions when grown on moist clay soils in Louisiana was significantly better than common. In a 3-year grazing study in south Louisiana, cattle demonstrated no preferential grazing between common and the Uruguayan accessions. Upon completion of the study, the Uruguayan accessions persisted (75%) much better than common (33%). Winter-hardiness of the Uruguayan biotype is similar to common and both can be reliably grown as far north as central Arkansas and southern Tennessee. Among all accessions, entry 554 was the most persistent (88%) at the end of the 3-year grazing study and it produced 2.6 times more forage than common in clipping trials in Louisiana. Because of its superior persistence and higher forage productivity, this entry was selected for release as ‘Sabine’ dallisgrass. Sabine was recently released by the USDA-ARS, Louisiana State University AgCenter, and Texas AgriLife Research. This new cultivar will provide livestock producers in the southeastern U.S. with a more productive and highly persistent alternative to common dallisgrass.