Forage innovation fit for the future

Thursday 24.06.2021 , news

As specialists in forage, Germinal is always looking to the future. Committed to research and development, we are driving innovation in seed production. We are not just part of the supply chain, but a plant breeder with vital knowledge in seed development.

Our research and innovation team, Germinal Horizon, comprises scientists at world-leading grassland research centre, Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Science (IBERS), and its own R&D farm sites. In addition to their work within Germinal Horizon, our team oversees on-farm trials across the country to confirm new varieties work effectively in a real-life farming situation.

The focus of our breeding programme has always reflected the areas of greatest need on farm and continues to include production traits such as yield, quality and persistency. Quality is particularly sought after to support intensive grazing systems, aiming to maximise livestock performance and farm productivity from forage. This has resulted in Germinal grass varieties featuring highly on the Recommended Grass and Clover List year after year.

We are also working now to enhance agricultural productivity in the face of today’s climate challenges and develop products fit for the future. The Aber High Sugar Grass (HSG) range does this through its ability to lower ammonia emissions and work is underway to continue developing varieties which underpin sustainable agriculture.

Research

For example, the nitrogen-fixing ability of legumes offers great potential for improving nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE), reducing the need for artificial N fertiliser. In addition to previous work on increasing the persistency of red clover, Germinal Horizon scientists are now developing new strains of red clover with a growth habit similar to white clover. This gives added resilience to withstand grazing, while retaining the red clover’s high-quality protein levels leading to a reduced reliance on bought-in protein supplements.

Similarly, more hybrid white clovers are being bred with a root system extending further below ground, as well as above, providing greater drought tolerance. These developments extend our innovative clover range and reflect the growing interest from farmers in using clover within a grassland system.

Germinal’s well-established breeding population provides the ideal platform to continue developing the new agronomic and environmental traits most needed by grassland farmers now and in the future.

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