Outstanding new grass and clover varieties offer timely boost to forage-based farming

Friday 01.05.2020 , news

Two new high performance varieties that are commercially available for the first time in 2020 significantly enhance the top selling grass and clover mixtures supplied by forage seed specialist Germinal GB.

The latest Aber High Sugar Grass AberBann and the new medium leaf white clover AberSwan, both bred at the Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) Aberystwyth University, are the new stand-out inclusions that will give livestock farmers greater potential for homegrown forage production.

“Continuing progress in forage breeding is essential if we are to build greater long term sustainability into our livestock farming systems and that’s currently more important than ever,” says Ben Wixey, National Agricultural Sales Manager for Germinal GB. “With the short term disruption in the food supply chains and the longer term prospect of reduced direct farm support, livestock farmers will need better and better varieties to underpin their forage-based systems. Providing continually improving varieties, and the required knowledge to grow and utilise them effectively, is a big part of our commitment to UK farming.

“AberBann adds to our comprehensive Aber High Sugar Grass range of top-ranking ryegrasses on the Recommended Grass and Clover List. The combination of high dry matter yields and exceptional quality means significantly more energy per hectare for producing milk or meat. In addition, the variety excels in all the important agronomic traits (ground cover, persistency, disease resistance) that ensure the leys perform in the field.

“AberSwan is the latest product of a legume breeding programme at IBERS that includes performance under animal grazing as part of its white clover selection protocol. This is a medium-large leaf variety that has demonstrated outstanding persistency when cut and grazed, out-yielding all other white clovers in the third harvest year. It is a strong addition to the range of Aber white clovers and now features in our AberDairy Clover Blend for cutting and grazing mixtures.”

AberBann and AberSwan were planned as the showcase varieties in Germinal’s Royal Welsh Grassland and Grassland & Muck demonstrations, now cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

White clover grazing plots

White clover trials plots at IBERS where grazing pressure has been used as part of the selection protocol. AberSwan is the latest white clover variety from the programme to become commercially available.

AberBann is a late heading diploid perennial ryegrass, combining a high grazing yield with outstanding quality (Grazing D-value of 77.8). No other perennial ryegrass on the 2019/20 Recommended Grass and Clover List (RGCL) is higher than AberBann’s 109% for ME Yield/ha, and this superior energy yield ranks it 12% higher than the average of all other late diploids on the current list.  In official trials, AberBann shows consistently high dry matter yields throughout, with a particularly strong main season performance with 113% of controls for early summer grazing and 106% of controls for late summer grazing.

AberSwan is a medium-large leaf-size variety with an impressive total clover yield at 109% of the mean of all varieties on the RGCL and shows its persistency with this rising to 119% of the mean by the third harvest year.

Both new varieties will be marketed exclusively worldwide by Germinal and feature in Germinal GB’s Aber High Sugar Grass mixtures for the 2020 season.

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