Living Crop Museum


Wilmington College 2005 

 Warm Season Forage Crops

Common Name:

Big Bluestem

Latin Name:

Andropogon gerardii



Crop Origin:

North America


Warm season perennial

Date Planted:

11 May, 2004

Growth Stages in Ohio

Big Bluestem Jan 1 06.JPG (3428859 bytes) Big bluestem feb 6 06.JPG (1996145 bytes) Big Bluestem March 4 06.JPG (3524806 bytes) Big Bluestem Apr 4 06.JPG (3569985 bytes) Big Bluestem May 5 06.JPG (2809030 bytes) Big bluestem 3 June 05.JPG (3116686 bytes)
January February March April May June
Big bluestem 1 July 05.JPG (3770490 bytes) Big bluestem 7aug05.JPG (2575897 bytes) Big bluestem 3 sep 05.JPG (2743406 bytes) Big bluestem 1 oct 05.JPG (2742249 bytes) Big bluestem 4 Nov 05.JPG (3193333 bytes) Big bluestem 2 dec 05.JPG (3802072 bytes)
July August


October November December

Cultivation in Ohio

Primary Uses:

Forage, Conservation


Broadcast and pack for a firm seedbed and plant no deeper than 0.5 inches deep.  Best time to seed is between mid April and mid May.  Too much or too little soil moisture is the most important factor determining planting success.

 Seeding Rate:

10 to 12 lb pure live seed/ac


Grows well in moderately well and somewhat poorly drained soils.  Can tolerate drought periods because of a deep extensive root system.  Prefers soil pH at or around 6.0 but can tolerate pH as low as 4.5.  In the absence of a Soil Test, it is recommended to apply 0-60-60 lb/ac.  N is not recommended at establishment, but on established stands, apply 75 lb/ac N annually.


None Reported


Leaf Spot can be a problem


Begin grazing in June at about 10 to 12 inches of plant growth, do not graze stubble shorter than 6 inches.  Conclude grazing in mid September.  When haying, do not cut grass after early August.  


Also known as Turkey Foot.                                                                                          MVB



Big_bluestem_leaf1.JPG (2281475 bytes) Big_ bluestem_ leaf2.JPG (2360099 bytes)


Big bluestem flower1.JPG (2115196 bytes) Big bluestem flower.JPG (1162581 bytes)


Big_Bluestem_seed.JPG (1338858 bytes)


big bluestem distribution map.jpg (30953 bytes)

  More Information