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Switchgrass: Establishment, Management, Yield, Nutritive Value, and Utilization

By: Joseph Burns, Douglas Chamblee, John de Ruiter, Dwight Fisher, E. Brent Godshalk, James Green, Robert Keys, Paul Mueller, Dale Wolf, David Timothy, Mark Zarnstorff

This publication summarizes results from 26 studies addressing the establishment, cell wall content, cultivar improvement, defoliation management, nutritive value, and utilization of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) as pasture, or its conservation as hay or silage or harvested as biomass. Both lowland and upland commercial cultivars and lowland germplasms were evaluated and, in some experiments, compared for yield, nutritive value, and quality characteristics. Comparisons were also made with other warm-season grasses. Switchgrass is a forage species having very flexible potentials as a pasture, stored forage, or biomass crop. Cytotypes, also referred to as ecotypes, and cultivar selections within cytotypes are important considerations when growing switchgrass in the Mid-Atlantic because they depend on its intended use and the crop’s geographic location