The University of Delaware and Maryland and Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) is currently working to evaluate processed Switchgrass (Panicum vergatum) as a potential bedding material. Pictured here is a 4 year old switch grass planting in Chestertown, Md., which is predicted to yield 5 to 8 tons per acre.
Switchgrass is harvested in mid winter to early spring and requires no nutrient or watering requirements. The grass is then baled in square or round bales and can be field stored for processing in the spring. Pen studies suggest that switchgrass should be processed to less than 1 inch length for poultry bedding.
Here is a picture of young chicks on switch grass bedding in a brood chamber in a Greenwood Del. farm. The Project would like to thank the DDA, DPI, Ernest Seed Company and Amick Farms for their collaboration on this evaluation. Pictures courtesy of Jennifer Timmons.