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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: REDESIGNING FORAGE GERMPLASM AND PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR EFFICIENCY, PROFIT, AND SUSTAINABILITY OF DAIRY FARMS Title: Meadow Fescue: The Forgotten Grass

Author
item CASLER, MICHAEL

Submitted to: World Wide Web
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 16, 2008
Publication Date: August 1, 2008
Citation: Casler, M.D. 2008. Meadow Fescue: The Forgotten Grass. Grass Clippings. 3(1):3-5.

Interpretive Summary: In 1990, we found an unknown grass growing on a pasture-based dairy farm in southwestern Wisconsin. We have identified this grass as meadow fescue, popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century before tall fescue was imported into the USA. The grass was established throughout the Charles Opitz farm by harvesting hay with ripe seed and feeding that hay to cattle during winter, so that the cattle would spread the seed via their manure droppings. We have verified that, once established, meadow fescue on the Opitz farm is not undergoing further sexual reproduction, so that existing plants are surviving for at least 10-15 years. This is a very winterhardy and drought tolerant grass that has potential for becoming an important grass variety option on pasture-based farms.

Technical Abstract: In 1990, we found an unknown grass growing on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin. We have identified this grass as meadow fescue, popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century before tall fescue was imported into the USA. The grass was established throughout the Charles Opitz farm by harvesting hay with ripe seed and feeding that hay to cattle during winter. We have verified that, once established, meadow fescue on the Opitz farm is not undergoing further sexual reproduction, so that existing plants are surviving for at least 10-15 years. This is a very winterhardy and drought tolerant grass.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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