University of Missouri Extension

M181, New February 2012

Dairy Grazing: Selecting the Right Forage

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.)

Warm-season grasses

Switchgrass is a native, perennial warm-season grass grown on an estimated 1 million acres in Missouri. Although its greatest use is for pasture, it is also widely used for hay production, soil conservation and wildlife habitat. Switchgrass tolerates poorly drained soils fairly well and is adapted to a wide range of growing conditions. It is easier to establish than many other warm-season grasses. Switchgrass dominates in the early years of establishment of mixed native warm-season grass plantings but declines after 10 to 12 years. Switchgrass must be grazed early in the season or the grass easily becomes overmature and of poor quality. Switchgrass is useful if grazing begins early in the season and it is kept in a vegetative stage of growth.


Yield distributionYield distribution of switchgrass in Missouri.

Seed head
Seed head

Collar region
Collar region

M181 Dairy Grazing: Selecting the Right Forage | University of Missouri Extension

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