Agronomy and Horticulture, Department of


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Published in the Journal of Animal Science (1988) 66: 2,239-2,244.


Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a native, perennial warm-season grass commonly used as summer pasture. Three strains of switchgrass with different in vitro DM disappearance (IVDMD) values were evaluated with yearling cattle (Bos taurus) in three replicated grazing trials All strains were similar in genetic background, maturity and yield potential. 'Trailblazer' (high-IVDMD) resulted in higher (P < .05) ADG than 'Pathfinder' and 'low-IVDMD'. Available forage of Trailblazer had higher IVDMD than Pathfinder and low-IVDMD. The IVDMD differences among strains were similar throughout the season; IVDMD declined between .3 and .5 percentage units per day. Forage availability, CP, NDF and ADF, permanganate lignin and ash were similar among strains. This study documents that plant breeders can select switchgrass plants for higher IVDMD and that strains consisting of progeny of these plants can result in higher animal gains than strains consisting of progeny of unselected or low-IVDMD plants with similar genetic background, forage yield, maturity, morphology and chemical composition.