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New Landowner Education: Bermuda Varieties For Pastures For East Texas

By Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D. Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR

Seeded varieties work well on small acreages that are not economical to sprig, as well as on steep slopes and cutover timberland where seedbed preparation for sprigging is not feasible. Most seeded bermuda-grass on the market are blends that contain two to four lines, or individual varieties, and often contain Giant (NK 37) and Common.

Cheyenne

Cheyenne is a cross between a bermudagrass from an old turf site in the Pacific Northwest and another plant from the former Yugoslavia. Originally released as a turfgrass, it was promoted as a pasture variety by the mid-90s. Like Common bermudagrass, Cheyenne establishes quickly. In a 5-year evaluation trial at Overton, Cheyenne produced the least dry matter yield of the seeded bermudagrasses.

Common

Highly variable in appearance, Common responds favorably to good management and grows under almost every conceivable condition throughout East Texas. Depending on its location, Common can be considered a forage grass, a turfgrass, or a noxious weed.

Because its performance is well established, it is often used as a standard for evaluating new material. Com­mon’s dry matter yields are generally about one-third lower than Coastal and its forage nutritive value and forage quality are about the same. It is generally more winter hardy than the hybrids.

Guymon

Guymon, a cultivar developed from lines found in the former Yugoslavia, grows near Guymon, Okla­homa. Very winter hardy, with large stems, it can be grown in the northern portion of the bermuda-grasses growing region. In Texas, Guymon yields less dry matter than does Common bermudagrass.

Giant (NK-37)

Giant is a strain of Common bermudagrass that grows more upright, is less likely to form a sod, and has longer leaves, finer stems, fewer rhizomes and stolons, and no pubescence (soft, fine hairs). It begins growing later in the spring than Com­mon bermudagrass and is not as cold tolerant. In severe winters, damage can be high. However, the loss appears to be associated with disease damage and low fertility rather than as a direct result of low temperatures.

Giant does well in lower humidity climates. It is susceptible to leaf spot disease, and dry matter yield declines in 2 to 3 years due to cold weather and diseases. Plantings will typically become a Common bermudagrass stand.

Wrangler

Wrangler is cold hardy and produces good cover during the establishment season. Forage yields can be higher than those of Guymon.

Other options for establishment of new pastures for the new landowner are seed blends. The percentage of each line in the blend may vary from year to year, depending on seed availabil­ity and cost.

For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected].

Author: Faith Huffman

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