College of Ag alumni professor co-authors book examining tall fescue

By Maggie Smith

Don Ball, alumni professor in Auburn’s Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, recently co-authored a book which examines the history and modern uses of forage tall fescue.

“The Wonder Grass” takes a comprehensive look at tall fescue, commonly known as Kentucky 31 tall fescue, starting with how the grass was discovered in the United States in 1893 by a farmer in eastern Kentucky.

The book also addresses the controversy that surrounded the original release of the variety. The authors take a close look at a subsequent issue, which was given the name fescue toxicosis and which for many years stumped researchers as to why cattle that fed on tall fescue came down with certain maladies.

Ball co-authored the book with former University of Kentucky professor Garry Lacefield and former University of Georgia professor Carl Hoveland.

“The Wonder Grass” was published earlier this year by the Oregon Tall Fescue Commission. To purchase the book, go to or call the commission at 503-364-2944.

Tags: News

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