Faster Forage Option for Growers
April 1, 2008
A new bahiagrass may provide forage
growers with a better shot at beating back weeds before they gain a
stranglehold on forage pastures. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Tifton, Ga., have
developed a cultivar called "TifQuik" that would do just that.
Anderson and colleagues in the
Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in Tifton developed TifQuik, a
bahiagrass with great potential as a forage grass in the Southeast. ARS is the
U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA)
chief scientific research agency.
Released by the USDA and the University of
Georgia (UGA), TifQuik provides faster germination and field establishment
than Tifton 9, another USDA/UGA variety that's widely grown for forage.
Most bahiagrass cultivars currently available require two to three weeks to
establish a full stand. During this time, weeds may infest the pasture, and
moisture for forage seed germination may be restricted.
The sole criterion for selection of plants to develop TifQuik was fast
germination. Former ARS agronomist Roger Gates and retired geneticist Wayne
Hanna performed four selection cycles, beginning with Tifton 9. Plants were
allowed to cross-pollinate, seed was hand-harvested, and that seed was then
used to start the final selection cycle in a greenhouse.
In greenhouse studies, the germination rate of TifQuik averaged five times
greater than that of Tifton 9 after six days, and three times greater after
eight days. One week after planting, TifQuik emerged about 75 percent faster
than Tifton 9 and Pensacola, another commonly used forage bahiagrass. Four
weeks after planting, TifQuik plants were taller than those of both Tifton 9
TifQuik will be particularly valuable to growers wanting to include
bahiagrass in a sod- based rotation system with row crops such as peanut and
cotton in the Southeast. Bahiagrass has been shown to reduce nematode and
disease problems in subsequent crops, and it should provide many forage growers
with another tool to make their operations more efficient and perhaps more
more about this research in the April 2008 issue of Agricultural