The bermudagrass variety test has been clipped four times thus far during the 1998 growing season. Clipping dates were May 11, June 2, June 30 and August 26. Despite the drought and heat that we have experienced, forage yields have been surprisingly high this season. The average total yield of the eleven varieties is 8,506 pounds, of which 82% had been harvested by June 30. An abundant accumulation of soil profile moisture during the winter and early spring was apparently sufficient to sustain the grasses through the early part of the growing season.
Total production in dry pounds per acre accumulated for each variety or strain is recorded in the table to the right. Again, this 1998 data must be used with caution. The verdict is still out on the varieties Tifton 85, Jiggs and Russell. Do they have adequate cold hardiness to consistently survive the winters in southern Oklahoma and north Texas?
We simply do not have enough data to make that determination yet. Since the initiation of the test in 1996, we have not experienced the cold temperatures needed to test for good winter survival. We desperately need some tougher winters ahead and more data before we can make recommendations on the adaptability of these varieties for this region of the country.
The experimental strains, 74 x 12-6 and 74 x 21-6 appear to have excellent adaptability to Oklahoma conditions. These two potential varieties have demonstrated excellent forage yields in our trials at Ardmore and the Oklahoma State University (OSU) forage yield trials at other Oklahoma locations for several seasons. In addition, they possess excellent cold tolerance and acceptable forage quality. It is anticipated that 74 x 21-6 will be released as a variety this coming year by OSU and the Noble Research Institute.