Seed Information

We offer quality seed from several varieties of eastern gamagrass currently available - Pete, Iuka, and Nemaha.

PETE is a composite of seed collections made in 1958 by the Manhattan SCS Plant Materials Center from 70 natural stands of gamagrass in Kansas and Oklahoma. The strain was advanced through the third generation via combine harvesting and replanting of open-pollinated seed.

IUKA is based on a 500+ plant collection made by the Southern Plains Range Research Station, ARS, USDA, Woodward, Oklahoma. The plants were collected from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Arkansas. In 1979 a 21 plant selection based on apparent forage value was made from the original collection. The original selections and their hybrids should be adapted over a large area.

NEMAHA is a blend of PETE and IUKA grown in the fertile Nemaha River Valley in southeast Nebraska.

Gamagrass seed is encased in a tough "capsule" made of stem-like material. This capsule protects and isolates the seed from the environment, contributing to the high degree of seed dormancy in gamagrass. Common seed characteristics are 5000 to 7000 seeds per pound, pure seed content of 95 to 99.9%, and total viability of 30 to 90%.

Recommended planting rate: 8 PLS lbs./A [about 45,000 pure live seeds (PLS) per acre].

Planting Options

DORMANT: The concept behind dormant plantings is to turn the seed priming efforts back to nature. This is an option only where winters are cold enough to provide several months of soil temperatures below 50 degrees F. Plantings should be made after soil temperatures have dropped below 50 degrees F. in the late fall to prevent seed from germinating and to reduce mold activity. To improve viability in dormant plantings, we offer fungicide treated seed. Mid January to mid February plantings appear to be more effective than earlier or later plantings. Earlier plantings may increase seed mortality, while less seed breaks dormancy if planted later. A dormant planting may not be your best choice in heavy textured, poorly drained soils, since seed is more likely to deteriorate. Consider a spring planting on these sites.

SPRING: One method used to improve initial stand establishment in spring plantings is a pre-chilling process. Moist seed kept in cold storage for 6 to 8 weeks has resulted in improved initial germinations. If you wish to purchase pre-chilled seed, order 6 to 8 weeks in advance of planting. The seed is shipped moist and must be put back in cold storage (35 - 45 degrees F.) if it can't be planted upon arrival. A Pre-chilling Information sheet is available for customers who wish to save money by purchasing unprimed seed and pre-chilling the seed themselves. We offer fungicide treated seed which simplifies the pre-chilling procedure. IMPORTANT: Moist pre-chilled seed needs to be kept moist to maximize germination. Plant only if adequate soil moisture is present.

In addition, we offer Germtec II , a new seed germination enhancing process. Advantages of Germtec II over pre-chilling include: stable product during shipping and storage ease (no refrigeration required). Plant seed when minimum soil temperature is 55 degrees F. using conventional planting equipment. Ask about greater planting options with Germtec II seed.

Planting Tips

The main objectives in the planting operation are uniform seed depth and good seed to soil contact. Seed should be planted 1 to 1&1/2" inches deep in medium textured soils or a little deeper in lighter textured soils that may dry out faster. The depth of seeding should be based on factors that affect soil moisture such as soil texture, residue cover, temperature, wind, etc. The goal is to place the seed just deep enough to stay in adequate moisture for a sufficient amount of time to allow germination to take place.

With the proper equipment, gamagrass can be planted into a variety of seedbeds from conventional to no-till. (Our customers receive additional information concerning planting equipment and adjustments in our Planter Calibration sheet.) In no-till, several potential problems should be addressed to insure successful stand establishment. In sod plantings, opener slots made by planting equipment provide a fracture line which can open up during dry weather. This can effectively reduce planting depth or even expose the seed, allowing it to dry out; compensate by increasing seed depth. When no-tilling into a killed sod the length of time since the complete kill of the sod was achieved is sometimes critical. Waiting three to four weeks after sod has been killed is often needed to allow populations of damaging insects to decrease to insignificant levels. An alternative to waiting would be the use of an in-furrow insecticide. Consult your local extension office for information concerning potential insect damage and possible control measures. Stand establishment is more difficult when planting into a living sod because of competition from existing vegetation and possible seedling damage from populations of damaging insects. Since gamagrass is a bunchgrass, established plants can have substantial bases. These can be rough to drive over with equipment. If haying is likely, consider planting in rows wide enough to minimize traffic over plants. Gamagrass stores a significant portion of its food reserves in the above ground portion of the plant base. Reduction of traffic on the plant crowns will result in less plant damage and faster regrowth.

Stand Management

BURNING: Fields may be burned to control woody plants, reduce foliar diseases, improve grazing distribution, and stimulate new growth. Burn fields in spring when new growth is about 1" long. Consult your local fire department before doing a prescribed burn.

FERTILIZATION: Gamagrass is an efficient user of existing nutrient supplies. It can continue to respond with increased production to higher levels of applied fertilizer if moisture and other growth factors are adequate. After gamagrass is established, soil test and use the fertilizer recommendation for corn as your guideline.

HAYING: Normal cutting dates in the midwest are June 1, July 15, and Sept. 1. Gamagrass produces excellent quality hay when harvested in the early boot stage. Note: Do not cut lower than 6 to 8 inches.

GRAZING: Gamagrass is best managed in a pure stand because it is favored over other grasses by grazing animals. It thrives under short duration, high intensity rotational grazing programs with adequate rest periods. Managers can realize maximum production and stand longevity by not grazing lower than 6 to 8 inches. To maintain longterm vigor of gamagrass stands, stop usage 30 to 45 days before average fall frost date.

WEED CONTROL: If gamagrass is planted in rows, cultivation can be used in early years of establishment. In various studies, gamagrass has shown excellent tolerance to potentially harmful carryover from some of today's commonly used corn herbicides (i.e. atrazine, Dual, Lasso, Bladex, Accent, 2,4-D, etc). Contact us for up-to-date information.

REMEMBER - order pre-chilled seed 6 to 8 weeks prior to planting.

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