In May, 160 producers turned out for two twilight tours offered by the University of Tennessee Center for Native Grasslands Management.

The tours, which were held at UT AgResearch and Education Centers in Middle Tennessee, featured tips on managing native grasses such as big bluestem, switchgrass, and eastern gamagrass in a livestock forage program.

“We were really pleased that so many farmers took the time to turn out for the events. They learned first-hand about our native grasses — just how well they can perform. They are highly drought tolerant, long lasting, warm-season perennials and can produce high yields of hay and excellent animal performance when grazed during the summer,” said Pat Keyser, director of the UT Center for Native Grasslands Management and coordinator for the events.

“Yields can measure from 4 to 6 tons per acre and steers can gain an average 1.1 to 2.6 pounds daily when grazing these grasses.”

Keyser says producers interested in learning more about native grasslands and pasture management have two more opportunities to attend the program.

Duplicate programs will be held in West Tennessee on June 21 in Grand Junction, at the Ames Plantation AgResearch and Education Center, and in east Tennessee on June 30, at the UT AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville.