For Outstanding Forage, New CD-II
Cattle and wildlife on western rangelands may soon be grazing on a rugged
new grass from USDA's Agricultural Research
Service. Known as CD-II, the plant is a crested wheatgrass from plant
breeders at the agency's Forage and Range Research Laboratory at Logan, Utah.
CD-II is "leafy, vigorous, and tolerant of drought, insects, and
diseases," says geneticist Kay H. Asay, who is with ARS at Logan. And
according to Asay, CD-II "produces few if any purple leaves in
That's a plus. In crested wheatgrass, purple leaves are a sign of stress and
A perennial, CD-II is well adapted to semiarid rangelands of the
intermountain and western Great Plains that get 10 to 16 inches of
precipitation a year. "CD-II is suitable for planting at elevations up to
6,000 feet," notes Asay, "and should provide abundant forage in early
spring through about midsummer."
In harsh environments where competition from weedy annuals is a problem,
CD-II emerges more readily than many other kinds of crested wheatgrass. Related
to Hycrest, another crested wheatgrass developed by Asay and colleagues at
Logan, CD-II is leafier and produces more growth in early spring.
Asay says livestock and wildlifeincluding deer and elkreadily
graze CD-II's abundant foliage. However, because it becomes dormant and less
palatable in midsummer, Asay says it should be planted in combination with
other grasses and shrubs that can provide forage for that time of the year.
CD-II is the result of 11 years of plant breeding and testing by Asay and
ARS co-researchers N. Jerry Chatterton, Kevin B. Jensen, Richard R-C. Wang,
Douglas A. Johnson, and W. Howard Horton at Logan; and Stanford A. Young of
Utah State University. ARSin collaboration with the
universityreleased initial supplies of seed in 1996.
Six companies have licenses to sell the new grass. Two of themRound
Butte Seed Growers, Inc., of Culver, Oregon, and Wheatland Seed, Inc., of
Brigham City, Utahsold supplies for the first time in 1998.
Big Sky Wholesale Seeds, Inc., of Shelby, Montana, plans to begin selling
CD-II this year, as do Rainier Seeds, Inc., Port Orchard, Washington; and
Newfield Seeds Company, Ltd., of Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada. Grassland West
Company of Clarkston, Washington, will market CD-II next year.By
Marcia Wood, Agricultural
Research Service Information Staff.
Kay H. Asay and colleagues are
with the USDA-ARS Forage and
Range Research Laboratory, Utah State University, 695N 1100E, Logan, UT
84322-6300; phone (435) 797-3069, fax (435) 797-3075.
"For Outstanding Forage, New CD-II Wheatgrass" was
published in the July 1999 issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.