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Tall fescue's future in agriculture

MADISON, WI, SEPTEMBER 21, 2009 A new book, Tall Fescue for the Twenty-first Century , documents the history, science, and applications of tall fescue, a cultivated pasture grass that is playing an increasing role in protecting soil and water and enhancing animal agriculture.

It features contributions from prominent scientists from around the world who address an array of topics, including history, ecology, management, pest, quality, and genetic improvement. The book is published by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.

Beginning with the discovery of a green Kentucky pasture and the spiral of poor animal performance that followed, the study of tall fescue is an ongoing puzzle, with an intricate series of biochemical and physiological processes and interactions among animals, plants, fungi, and the environment. Its story reveals how science develops and moves through disciplines, challenges, and new advances in research and technology.

The future of tall fescue is linked with the future of an environmentally conscious, energy-efficient, productive animal agriculture. It will continue to be a desirable grass for sustaining livestock where soils are too steep, too wet, too dry, too rocky, too shallow, too high in elevation, or too remote for cultivated crops. Tall fescue will also play an increasing role in environmental sustainability, protecting soil and water while enhancing the aesthetics of urban and agricultural landscapes.

Interest in Tall Fescue for the Twenty-first Century should not be limited to forage and turf scientists. This book provides current, science-based insights for researchers in disciplines ranging from ecology, forage, turf, and seed sciences to animal and nutrition sciences. It is also a valuable resource for practitioners, such as seed, cattle, and turf producers, as well as conservation managers. Even those without a specific interest in cultivated pasture grass may find significance in the themes of scientific inquiry central to the tall fescue story and its role in the advancement of agriculture.

"The past half century has been a most astounding time for those of us fortunate enough to have been involved in research and teaching about tall fescue....The whole 35-year process has seemed akin to a complicated detective novel, complete with some distracting issues and alleged but innocent perpetrators," says Tall Fescue in the Twenty-first Century editors H.A. Fribourg, D.B. Hannaway, and C.P. West, on their role in tall fescue research.

The book was edited by Henry A. Fribourg, University of Tennessee; David B. Hannaway, Oregon State University; and Charles P. West, University of Arkansas. View the full Table of Contents here:


Contact: Sara Uttech
American Society of Agronomy

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