Improving Forage Quality in Bermudagrass by Breeding1
- Glenn W. Burton,
- Richard H. Hart and
- R. S. Lowrey2
Twenty-three clones of bermudagrass, cut at 2-, 3-, 4-, and 6-week intervals, differed significantly in crude-protein content and nylon bag dry-matter digestibility. These quality measurements decreased as age of forage increased. Genotype ✕ age interactions were not significant. F1 hybrid ‘Coastal’ ✕ ‘Kenya 56 #14’ (the best-quality hybrid) averaged 12.3% more digestible dry matter than Coastal bermuda over a 4-year period. With the same forage intake, 1,760-kg (800-lb) steers should gain 30% more per day with this hybrid than with Coastal bermudagrass. Fiftyseven F1 ‘Midland’ ✕ ‘Kenya 61’ hybrids cut at 33 days of age ranged from 45.2 to 59.6% in dry-matter digestibility with a 5% LSD of 2.8%. Midland and Kenya 61 parents included in this test gave dry-matter digestibilities of 49.7 and 60.5%, respectively. Dry-matter digestibility, determined by a special nylon-bag technique (the most precise of eight methods used for estimating forage quality at Tifton, Ga.), appears to be well suited for screening many genotypes in a forage-breeding program directed toward quality improvement.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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