CORVALLIS - A new book co-edited by an Oregon State University professor sheds light on the importance of tall fescue, a grass grown in Oregon for seed and used around the world for turf and forage.

As it turns out, this grass has an interesting scientific history relevant to the health and welfare of livestock and ultimately the sustainability of the planet.

The book, "Tall Fescue for the Twenty-First Century," is the story of the rise in popularity of tall fescue and of the scientific efforts to pinpoint the reasons that livestock eating it failed to thrive. The research that was conducted to unravel the mystery demonstrates the effectiveness of collaborative research and of the United States' land grant university system.

In the book, OSU professor David Hannaway, his co-editors and 59 contributors describe the history of tall fescue, its importance as a forage plant, management practices, and research that led to the development of grass cultivars with nontoxic endophytes.

The editors write: "The future of tall fescue is linked with the future of an environmentally conscious, energy-efficient, productive animal agriculture. Tall fescue husbandry will play an increasing role in ensuring long-term food and feed sustainability in a fragile world with an increasing population, doing its share to protect soil and water resources while transforming solar energy into feed on lands that should not be tilled."

The book was published in September by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

Hannaway, a professor of crop and soil science, co-edited the book with his former adviser Henry Fribourg, a professor emeritus in the University of Tennessee's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Plant Sciences Department, and Charles West, professor of crop, soil, and environmental sciences at the University of Arkansas.

"Tall Fescue for the Twenty-First Century" includes a CD of color illustrations. It will also be available to the public in a free online version later this year.

The hardcover, 540-page book can be purchased for $150 at www.societystore.org or by calling (608) 268-4960 or emailing books@agronomy.org.

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