Royal Welsh Show: Research into fatty grass goes ahead

Researchers are investigating fat variation in grass with the aim of creating new grass varieties to produce healthier beef.

Scientists at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), in collaboration with beef brand Celtic Pride, have begun research into identifying and understanding the variation in fat content and fatty acid composition of grass.

They are also assessing the current impact of a forage-based production system on fat composition of beef.

“Fat is a vital macronutrient within the human diet and is essential to sustain life. Yet humans are not consuming adequate amounts of beneficial fats such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids,” said a spokesperson from IBERS.

One route, scientists said, to increasing beneficial fats in the diet is through forage-fed beef, since grass contains a high amount of beneficial omega-3 fatty acid.

Sarah Morgan, a sheep farmer’s daughter from Llanddeusant and PhD student at Aberystwyth University, will be working closely with scientists on the project.

She said: “Grass is a very important resource to farmers which is cheap, natural and sustainable. Cattle fed on grass-based diets produce beef with higher levels of beneficial unsaturated fatty acids compared to concentrate-fed cattle. This is because the main fatty acid in grass is an essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid.”

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