Green Green Grass of Hope


Boundless grasses over the plain Come and go with every season;Coolotai Grass Wildfire never quite consumes them — They are tall once more in the spring wind. Sweet they press on the old high- road And reach the crumbling city-gate…. O Prince of Friends, you are gone again…. I hear them sighing after you.
This poem writen by chinese poet Bai Juyi  of the Tang dynasty era was beautifully written to depict man’s continuous and unavoidable exposure to the sights of grass everywhere they go. This monocot plant that we sometimes treat as eyesores jot the roadways, canals, farmfields, slopes, the mountain sides,pathways,etc. then finally ends up being snubbed or taken for granted.
As a child growing up, it was part of our household chore to help mow down the lawn in our front and backyards or trim the overgrown weeds in some pathways beyond  the house.There are quite a number of  varieties of grasses which are found to have  useful purposes, i.e. for landscape design or well manicured football pitches but then some of the more ordinary varieties end up being cut down and thrown to the garbage or burned. But there ‘s one very useful purpose that can be derived from grasses–they benefit the other surviving creations that live alongside the humans…as food for livestock  who loves grazing and roaming the pastures for endless hours.
cattle_grazing_largeGrasses are nature’s selection of plants that can tolerate grazing.Grasses can be perennial, living for many seasons, or annual, which means they grow from a seed, flower and die, all in one growing season. Perennial grass plants are vital to the stability of a native pasture and considering their productivity is the most important factor in your grazing planning. After a grass is grazed it needs time to regrow its leaves using energy stored in its roots.
Coolatai grass is a long leaved summer active perennial grass that produces short rhizomes that form dense tussocks.
Coolatai grass or Hyparrhenia Hirta

Coolatai grass is a long leaved summer active perennial grass that produces short rhizomes that form dense tussocks.Being drought tolerant,it has the ability to rapidly respond to rain, producing new culms from the tussock base and flowering in a matter of weeks. It is well adapted to fire, with tussocks surviving hot burns. Coolatai grass will readily invade disturbed areas such as roadsides and pastures, forming monocultures and out-competing most other species.

Coolatai grass will readily invade disturbed areas such as roadsides and pastures, forming monocultures and out-competing most other species.

It also has the ability to invade relatively pristine remnant native vegetation, making it a significant threat to the conservation of these areas. In one research in Australia, it has been observed that Coolatai grass invasion results in significant drecreases in native plant diversity and biomass. Coolatai grass presents a dilemma in that it is able to invade relatively undisturbed natural ecosystems, yet can be a resilient productive pasture species if managed correctly. Coolatai grass is also highly tolerant of most herbicides making control on a large scale difficult, particularly where the treatment cost will exceed the productive value of the land. On the other hand, studies have shown that with significant management inputs where Coolatai grass is kept short, it can be a highly productive pasture and meet the feed requirement of dry stock.Both these characteristics give the species the ability to quickly flower and set seed when environmental conditions are favourable.

Cattles are known to graze the heads of Coolatai grass.

Research on the viability of annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) passing through cattle shows that around 12% of seed consumed remains viable. Therefore it would be reasonable to assume that some Coolatai grass seed will survive the digestive track of cattle. It is tolerant of most commonly used herbicides and suppression of growth is the most likely outcome.

Moving over to Oman,  been observing a lot of times trucks plying the roadways  with loads of cube-shaped green or beige colored objects.Then comes the wide open fields with water sprinklers  watering not trees nor flowers but of all living things … grasses.This are in fact weeds that are cared for by farmhands that finds its way to the market or livestock farms. At today’s going rate, one bundle of coolatai grass in the market will sell for 3.5 USD in Oman. I refer to a common variety of grass that are so very often fed to livestock…Coolatai grass or Hyparrhenia Hirta as its scientific name stands.They are known known to have originated from Africa but has found its way to many other parts of the world and will grow on a range of soils though, it is most active on light to medium textured soils and will grow and increase on heavy clay soils if not waterlogged.Of noteworthy is a study made in South Africa and the Middle East that indicate their propensity on growing very fast on slopes that face the sun.  It is cold tolerant and and can be seen growing from sea level to 1500 m altitude, however in South Africa Coolatai grass is found up to 2400 m above sea level.

They are ready to be trucked to their destination point.The grass has become an important agricultural commodity that is used to boost livestock productivity.
They are ready to be trucked to their destination point.The grass has become an important agricultural commodity that is used to boost livestock productivity.
Stacked Coolatai Grasses
Stacked Coolatai Grasses

Cattles,Goats & Camels : They have come a long way.Grass is good for them.


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