Switchgrass

(Panicum virgatum)

Alamo Switchgrass – The Ultimate Biomass Crop – has produced as much as 15 Tons/Acre.

Switchgrass is a vigorous, native, perennial, bunchgrass that grows throughout most of the United States. This warm-season grass is an exceptional forage for pasture and hay for livestock. The plant also provides excellent cover for wildlife populations; the seed provides a quality food source for gamebirds. It’s most abundant and important as a forage and pasture grass in the central and southern parts of the Great Plains. It usually grows 3 to 8 feet high, with large, vigorous rhizomes. Because of its deep penetrating root system, it can handle drought periods better than most grasses and provides outstanding erosion control. The stand looks like a colony rather than a sod. The flowering head is a widely branching open panicle. The leaves are usually from 1/2 to 1 inch wide and 6 to 30 inches long. Leaves are green to bluish-green. Switchgrass grows on nearly all soil types but is most abundant and thrives best on moist low areas of relatively high fertility.

Heavy, vigorous roots and underground stems make the species excellent for conservation use. Seedling growth is aggressive. Usually, switchgrass is seeded with the species with which it occurs naturally. Best seedling stands have been obtained where plantings were made on a clean, firm, well-prepared seedbed. Growth begins in mid-spring and continues through the summer if there is enough moisture. Forage is produced in abundance, especially during the period of early rapid growth, and is acceptable to livestock. Cutting the grass for hay before seed heads begin to form will ensure quality hay.

Switchgrass is unique in that it can withstand flooding and saturated soils for long periods of time after it is established. It is very responsive to fertilizers.  A January forage test from a bale of Alamo Switchgrass baled in June returned with 15.3 % crude protein.  See attached forage test.

Switchgrass
Switchgrass

General Characteristics

Growth Type:Bunch
Life Span:Perennial
Growing Season:Warm Season
Native/Introduced:Native
Plant Height:3-8 feet
Cold Tolerance:Good
Drought Tolerance:Fair-Good
Salt Tolerance:Fair
Soil Type:Sandy - Clay
Minimum Rainfall:18 inches
Planting Rate:5-8 pls#
Planting Date:Dec. - June
Seed Type:Smooth
Uses:Grazing, Wildlife Habitat, Erosion Control, Reclamation