New grass hybrid could help reduce the likelihood of flooding

What can farmers and growers do when the weather’s gone weird? In this time of climate change, nobody can really tell you what kind of weather to expect. This is no joke if you’re making your living on the land. Too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, when you need your crops and your livestock.

You could sow a new hybrid grass named Festulolium. This hybrid was developed by scientists in Britain, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They’re suggesting it for other temperate regions too.

This grass grows fast – food for grazing livestock. And it grows deep roots, so it retains water within the soil. That might mean that if farmers sow Festulolium, they’ll be able to reduce their land’s risk of flooding. Not just their own land. When there’s too much water about, floods spread and rivers burst their banks. Perhaps Festulolium will help.

Here’s the peer-reviewed science about Festulolium. It’s a cross between perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis).

L. perenne and F. pratensis are common and widespread in Britain, often included in grass seed mixes because they make good forage. They hybridise easily, in fact their natural hybrids are common and widespread too. So why the excitement about Festulolium? Because unlike the natural hybrids, it’s been selectively bred to make it a useful grass for farmers.

I’m grateful to my fellow blogger Abdul Raziq Kakar (raziqkakar) at camel4all (Camel, Food Security and Climate Change) for drawing attention to Festulolium.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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4 Responses to New grass hybrid could help reduce the likelihood of flooding

  1. dianabuja says:

    A grass that is excellent in the tropics is vetiver – very multipurpose and excellent for managing soils and water. Vetiver is my choice in the tropics!

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