A new bermudagrass variety test was established on May 14 of this year at the Headquarters Farm. Included in the trial are four newer commercial varieties, three promising experimental strains, and four older commercially adapted varieties in Oklahoma. A brief description of the newer varieties and experimental strains follows:
Tifton 85 was developed by the USDA-ARS at Tifton, Georgia. It is taller and has larger stems and broader leaves than most commercially available bermudagrasses. It is very vigorous and has the ability to rapidly regenerate and produce excellent yields. However, it is less winter hardy than Coastal and may not survive the winters in Oklahoma.
Jiggs originated in east Texas and has become very popular along the upper Gulf Coast where it establishes quicker than Coastal on heavy textured soils. Little is known about the winter hardiness and forage nutritive value of this variety; however, it is susceptible to foliar diseases.
Quickstand originated in Kentucky. It has aggressive establishment capability, excellent cold tolerance, and forms a dense persistent sod.
Russell originated in Russell County, Alabama. The variety forms a thick robust sod and has high growth potential in early spring. Russell is more winter hardy than Coastal, but its northern range of adaptation is unknown.
STW15-11, 74X12-6, and 74X21-6 are promising experimental strains developed by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. All have high forage yield potential and excellent adaptation to Oklahoma. Their growth habits and rates of spread are similar to Midland and Tifton 44. Winter hardiness appears to be adequate under Oklahoma conditions.
The test has been clipped two times. Clipping dates were August 7 and September 5. Dry weather curtailed early growth but late summer rainfall stimulated excellent forage production late in the growing season. Total production in dry pounds/acre for each variety or strain are:
- Tifton 85 = 6,796
- Hardie = 6,696
- 74X12-6 = 6,424
- Midland = 5,495
- Jiggs = 5,424
- 74X21-6 = 5,407
- Tifton 44 = 5,188
- Russell = 4,444
- STW15-11 = 4,228
- Quickstand = 3,943