Ryegrass swell herbage listing
HIGHEST number of new ryegrass varieties for five years has been added to NIABs 1998/99 herbage recommended lists.
This emphasises the continuing effort being made by grass breeders to produce better varieties for the UK, says NIABs head of grass and forage trials, Jim McVittie.
He suggests the newcomers on the list, which replace 12, and have been selected from 42 considered for recommendation, extend the range of material available to livestock farmers, so allowing them to maximise use of grass in the diet. This year sees the results of breeder efforts to improve grass quality.
"Weve seen some very high quality early and intermediate perennials added, and some high yielding later varieties," says Dr McVittie. Grass yield is improving by an average of 0.5% a year, he adds. "This means that every 20 years were getting a 10% increase in yield through variety choice alone."
Newcomers to the provisionally recommended categories include the earlies Donard and Session (tetraploid), with Premium and Tireno joining the intermediate list and AberCraigs (tetraploid), Cancan and Sponsor the late perennials. Ligrande is the only new Italian ryegrass.
• Full report next week. *