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The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) is a department of Aberystwyth University, and is located in Aberystwyth, Wales. As a world class research and education centre, IBERS is recognised internationally for its work on genetics and genomics-based research underpinning the improvement of forages, principally ryegrass and both red and white clover.

IBERS has led and participated in a number of LINK projects that support collaborative research between industrial and academic partners. These include LIPIGRASS, looking at the lipid content of grass and SUREROOT, looking at the rooting of grass and clover varieties for the prevention of flooding and forage production in periods of drought in recent years.

Germinal have sponsored the near market work on the breeding of grass and clover varieties since 1989 and this successful relationship allows Germinal to hold the worldwide marketing rights for the varieties that are bred at IBERS. The varieties are marketed under the prefix “ABER®”. 

The forage breeding and genetics team have an impressive track record of developing germplasm with novel properties related to quality and persistency. Thanks to a strategic alliance with Germinal, the impact of this progressive scientific research has been translated into commercially successful forage crop varieties that are on the National and Recommended Lists and widely used in livestock agriculture in the UK, Ireland and further afield.

Importantly, the IBERS animal nutrition team works in close collaboration with the forage plant breeding team, particularly informing and influencing the direction of forage crop breeding, to sustainably increase livestock productivity through the use of home-grown forage and crop resources.

Leading the way - Aber® High Sugar Grass (HSG)

Scientists at IBERS were responsible for the development of the Aber® HSG varieties with elevated levels of water soluble carbohydrate (WSC). These varieties have been demonstrated to reduce emissions of nitrous oxide and methane and increase production of meat and milk, when fed to ruminant livestock.

To learn about the science behind Aber® High Sugar Grass, click here. 

IBERS have received a number of prestigious awards for their technological breakthrough including:

  • Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2009
  • NIAB Cup for Improvement in Quality 2003 and again in 2015
  • Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) Award for Technology and Innovation in 2007
  • The Times Higher Education Award (THE Award) Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology
  • British Grassland Society Innovation Award 2011
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Innovation with Excellence Award

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