21 July 1995

Mix that does the trick

Don Wilkinsons grass seed mixture comprises two-thirds intermediate and one-third early hybrid (Italian/perennial) ryegrasses.

It includes the intermediate heading variety Merlinda, which as a tetraploid boosts soluble carbohydrate levels for silaging; the hybrid Polly, which gives the good spring growth of an Italian and the mid-season tillering of perennials, and the diploid Fennema, which boasts good mid-season D-value, ealry spring growth, and winter hardiness.

Mr Wilkinson plans to update this mix, which hes been using for five years, and this autumn is trying four new varieties and will compare their performance.

He is basing his new variety choices on Scottish Agricultural College trial results which he feels are more applicable to his conditions in Co Durham.

"SAC trials show Merlinda has low mid-season digestibility," said Mr Wilkinson, who now seeks a new grass to replace it.

Contenders are Twins, said to be one of the latest heading intermediates with a high annual yield of good D-value for conservation; AberElan, with very high yields, especially under grazing management, and outstanding spring and autumn growth; Aubisque, with high yields, especially under conservation management, good spring growth and silage cuts of good D value; and Belramo, an intermediate diploid.