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Book: Contributions from Breeding Forage and Turf Grasses
Published by: Crop Science Society of America



  1.  p. 5-20
    CSSA Special Publication 15.
    Contributions from Breeding Forage and Turf Grasses

    D. A. Sleper, K. H. Asay and J. F. Pedersen (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-594-9


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Cool-Season Forage Grass Breeding: Progress, Potentials, and Benefits1

  1. R. E. Barker and
  2. R. R. Kalton
  1. USDA-ARS, Mandan, North Dakota


Cool-season grasses grow rapidly and initiate flowering when temperatures are moderate. Many of the world's most important forages upon which the animal industry is founded are included in this group. Two conditions are necessary to optimize grassland production: (i) proper management and (ii) use of species and cultivars adapted to the specific climate and forage purpose. Grass breeding is a relatively new science, but in the past 30 yr cultivars have been developed to provide improved feed for livestock, to conserve and improve our soil and water resources, and to provide a primary base for aesthetic and recreational purposes. Because of the diversity of uses, it is difficult, if not impossible, to measure the ultimate benefit of grass cultivars in monetary terms. Indeed, grassland agriculture, including grass cultivars, is the foundation on which life and civilization rest. Grass breeding programs have received low priority in recent years as research budgets have tightened. Unfortunately, fewer breeders are now actively pursuing improvement of the germplasm resources necessary to sustain efficient productivity of vast grassland acreages.

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