Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Plant Characteristics: Perennial rhizomatus bunchgrass. Leaf is hairy near the base and seed head is an open panicle.
Establishment: Switchgrass is high drought tolerant and can be grown throughout the state. It can be grown in poorly-drained soils. Planting can occur from April to May or mid-July to late August at seeding rates of 5 to 6 lb/ac at 1/2 inch deep.
Fertilization: Very responsive to nitrogen. Nitrogen applications of 50 to 70 lb/ac are recommended.
Grazing/Hay Management: Forage can used for pasture, hay, or biofuel production. It should be grazed early in the season and becomes unpalatable early in the summer. Forage production occurs from May to early August with yields ranging from 8 to 15 tons/ac. Rotational grazing with heavy stocking rates is recommended with 4 to 6 weeks resting period to maintain quality and stands.
Varieties/Cultivars: Alamo, Pathfinder, Cave-in-Rock, Blackwell, Shelter, Summer, Trailblazer, Forestburg, Dacotah, Caddo, Kanlow, Nebraska 28.