USDA-ARS researchers are excited about the potential of an annual ryegrass variety from Japan.

They say Shiwasuaoba yields about the same as varieties now in use, but is ready to be hayed or grazed three weeks earlier in spring. As a result, the land can be quickly rotated to a summer crop.

Adapted to the Southern Plains, the variety was evaluated for three years at USDA’s Grazing Lands Research Lab in El Reno, OK, and South Central Ag Research Lab at Lane, OK. Additional evaluations are under way to identify its optimal agronomic conditions and potential rotation crops that would complement it.

Japanese researchers have applied for U.S. Plant Variety Protection for Shiwasuaoba. If it’s approved it will be the first time Japan has released a forage grass in the U.S.