TifQuik for Faster
Forage growers would naturally like to get the jump on weeds
and extend their forage production season. So Agricultural Research Service
geneticist Bill Anderson of the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit in
Tifton, Georgia, and his colleagues have developed a new bahiagrass (Panicum
notatum) cultivar that may help them do just that.
Released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and
the University of Georgia (UGA) TifQuik has great promise as a forage
grass in the Southeast. Currently, Tifton 9 bahiagrass,
USDA/UGA variety, developed by the late Glenn Burton, an ARS Hall of Fame
member, is widely grown for forage, with good results. But the TifQuik
cultivar is even better.
"TifQuik was developed to have reduced hard seed and
thus faster germination and field establishment than Tifton 9," says
Anderson. "These features mean that a TifQuik -seeded pasture will be
covered earlier, and grazing or hay removal can be performed sooner-with
higher initial yields."
The bahiagrass cultivars now grown have a considerable
amount of hard seed and thus require 2-3 weeks to establish a full stand.
During this time, weeds may infest the pasture, and moisture for forage seed
germination may be restricted.
In developing TifQuik, the sole criterion for
selection of plants was fast germination. It took 4 years to achieve the
desired qualities. Former ARS agronomist Roger Gates and retired geneticist
Wayne Hanna performed the four selection cycles, beginning with Tifton 9.
During each cycle, enough seed was planted from the previous one to obtain
1,000 seedlings that germinated
the first week. Seedlings were transplanted to clay pots in the greenhouse
and then to a fumigated field to establish a nursery. Plants were allowed to
cross-pollinate, seed was handŽ-harvested, and that seed was then used to
start the final cycle, the following spring, in a greenhouse. The four
cycles were completed in 2002, and the seed from 2002 was used to establish
greenhouse germination tests and a replicated field test and to begin seed
In the greenhouse studies, germination of TifQuik
averaged five times more than Tifton 9 after 6 days and three times more
after 8 days. In the field studies, TifQuik emerged about 75 percent
faster after 1 week than Tifton 9 and Pensacola, another commonly used
forage bahiagrass. After 4 weeks, TifQuik plants were taller than
both Tifton 9 and Pensacola. Dry-matter yields of TifQuik were two
times higher than Tifton 9 and four times higher than Pensacola for the
first clipping, which was done 2 months after planting.
"TifQuik will be particularly valuable to growers who wish
to include bahiagrass in a sod-based rotation system with row crops such as
peanut and cotton in the southeastern United States," says Anderson. "Bahiagrass
has been shown to reduce nematode and disease problems in subsequent crops,
and it should provide many forage growers with another tool to make their
operations more efficient and, hopefully, more profitable."-By Sharon
This research is part of Rangeland,
Pasture, and Forages, an ARS national program (#205) described on the World
Wide Web at
William F Anderson (https://www.ars.usda.gov/southeast-area/tifton-ga/crop-genetics-and-breeding-research/people/william-anderson/) is in the USDAŽARS Crop
Genetics and Breeding Research Unit, 115 Coastal Way, Tifton, GA 31793;
phone (229) 386-3170,fax (229) 386-3701, e-mail