Establishment of Eastern Gamagrass into a Cool Season Grazing System in Texas Blackland Prairie Soils

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ag Science and Natural Resources

Date of Award

Fall 2021


The purpose of this study is to establish Eastern Gamagrass using nurse crops that could increase forage production and profit margins in a grazing system. Nurse crop forage production and Gamagrass plant establishment were compared in this study at two locations; Fairlie and Greenville. Four cover crops (oats, rye, wheat, and annual ryegrass) and a control (bare plot) were blocked at each location with four replications of each block at Fairlie and three at Greenville. Four varieties of Gamagrass (Jackson, Nacogdoches, Pete, and Medina) was seeded into each block at four different planting dates (November, December, January, and April). Additionally, germination of stratified seed vs. non-stratified seed of the four varieties where also compared over four weeks in a greenhouse. A treatment (stratified vs. non-stratified) by time by variety interaction was observed (P < 0.05) for seed germination. Seed germination tended to occur more in stratified seed in the first week among the varieties except for Jackson which had higher germination (25%) in non-stratified seed in the second week. Forage production of the nurse crops was compared at two dates (January and March) and was different at the Fairlie location. No differences (P > 0.05) were observed for forage production of the different nurse crops. Both a variety by nurse crop (P < 0.05) and a variety by planting date (P < 0.05) were observed for Gamagrass plant establishment at Fairlie. Generally the best results were observed for Nacogdoches and Medina. The highest plant counts were observed for Nacogdoches in January whereas the highest counts for Medina were observed in November. High counts were observed for Nacogdoches in the bare plot whereas for Medina counts were higher in bare plot and cereal rye. In conclusion, stratification of seed was beneficial for the different varieties of Gamagrass except Jackson which had higher germination of non-stratified seeds. Forage production of the different nurse crops did not differ but may differ when comparing the establishment of the different varieties of Gamagrass. Planting date was generally similar but some varieties may benefit more at different dates.


Douglas Eborn

Subject Categories

Agriculture | Plant Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences