A forgotten forage grass imported from Europe in the 1800s could soon be helping to boost cattle and dairy production. The grass, which has adapted well to parts of the Upper Midwest, has been released by U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Resarch Service scientists in Madison, Wisconsin.
The forage grass was discovered on a farmer’s shaded hilltop in a long-time pasture that had never been seeded with commercial forages. Cattle thrived on it and it gradually spread from the hilltop grove into gullies and open areas, possibly because cattle eating the ripe seed spread it in their manure. The farmer fed hay made from it to more cattle, to spread it further. He also eventually began consulting with ARS plant geneticist Michael Casler and his colleagues at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.
Casler and his colleagues have since spent more than a decade evaluating the grass, named Hidden Valley for the farm where it was discovered.… Continue readingRead More »