Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass

Date:
March 16, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
A grass breeder has rediscovered a forage grass that seems just right for today's intensive rotational grazing.

ARS geneticist Michael Casler has "rediscovered" a long forgotten forage grass called meadow fescue. It offers better nutrition than tall fescue and orchardgrass.
Credit: Photo by Michael Casler.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grass breeder has rediscovered a forage grass that seems just right for today's intensive rotational grazing.

A farmer's report of an unusual forage grass led Michael Casler, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) geneticist at the agency's U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wis., to identify the grass as meadow fescue. Meadow fescue has been long forgotten, although it was popular after being introduced about 50 to 60 years before tall fescue.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Casler has developed a new variety of meadow fescue called Hidden Valley, and its seed is being grown for future release.

Non-toxic fungi called endophytes live inside meadow fescue, helping it survive heat, drought and pests. Unlike the toxic endophytes that inhabit many commercial varieties of tall fescue and ryegrass, meadow fescue does not poison livestock.

Charles Opitz found the grass growing in the deep shade of a remnant oak savannah on his dairy farm near Mineral Point, Wis. He reported that the cows love it and produce more milk when they eat it. Casler used DNA markers to identify Opitz's find.

Meadow fescue is very winter-hardy and persistent, having survived decades of farming. It emerged from oak savannah refuges to dominate many pastures in the Midwest's driftless region, named for its lack of glacial drift, the material left behind by retreating continental glaciers.

Casler and his colleagues have since found the plant on more than 300 farms in the driftless region of Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Geoffrey Brink, an ARS agronomist working with Casler, discovered that meadow fescue is 4 to 7 percent more digestible than other cool-season grasses dominant in the United States.

In another study, meadow fescue had a nutritional forage quality advantage over tall fescue and orchardgrass that may compensate for its slightly lower annual yield further north, as reported in the Agronomy Journal. Also, the yield gap begins to close with the frequent harvesting involved in intensive grazing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. E. Brink, M. D. Casler, N. P. Martin. Meadow Fescue, Tall Fescue, and Orchardgrass Response to Defoliation Management. Agronomy Journal, 2010; 102 (2): 667 DOI: 10.2134/agronj2009.0376

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315130110.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, March 16). Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315130110.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315130110.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins