There is a forage gap from autumn through spring, when bermudagrass is dormant in the Southern Great Plains. This is a reason behind many livestock producers' need to feed hay during the winter, which can be a costly practice.
Our breeding work aims to develop perennial cool-season forage cultivars to help fill the forage gap. We focus on two main species: tall fescue and alfalfa. We select for grazing persistence, heat and drought tolerance, winter survival, high biomass, seed yield, forage quality and disease resistance. Traditional, field-based, plant breeding methodology combined with the recent implementation of sensor technology is the primary approach used to fill this forage gap with next-generation cultivars.