Two new high sugar ryegrasses from Aberystwyth

Grass breeders from Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) have again produced leading varieties in the latest official recommended lists with two new high sugar ryegrasses.

AberSpey and AberLee top their respective categories for ME (metabolizable energy) yield/ha on the newly published Recommended Grass and Clover Lists (England and Wales), adding further to the Aber High Sugar Grass (Aber HSG) range that has become a worldwide success story since the first variety was launched in 2000.

Now grown around the world, on farms as far afield as New Zealand, the Aber HSG varieties are renowned for their combination of dry matter yield and quality and offer livestock farmers a significant opportunity to produce more milk or meat from homegrown feed.

In the latest (2017) Irish Pasture Profit Index (PPI), Aber HSG varieties top their respective categories, with AberMagic (intermediate diploid), AberClyde (intermediate tetraploid), AberChoice (late diploid) and AberGain (late tetraploid) leading the way.

AberSpey combines a high grazing yield with outstanding quality (D-value) to rank as the highest ME yield/ha variety amongst all intermediate heading tetraploid perennial ryegrasses on the latest lists.

In official trials, AberSpey shows consistently high dry matter yields throughout, with a particularly strong late season performance with 111% of controls for autumn grazing, and 112% of controls for third and fourth cut silage.

AberLee, a late headingdiploid perennial ryegrass, has the highest quality (Grazing D-value, 78.6) of all perennial ryegrasses on the latest list, which combines with good dry matter yields to make it one of the top performers for ME yield/ha.

Both new varieties will be marketed exclusively worldwide by Germinal Holdings.

“AberSpey and AberLee add to what is now a comprehensive Aber High Sugar Grass range of top-ranking ryegrasses on the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists,” said Professor Athole Marshall, head of Public Good Plant Breeding at IBERS, speaking at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show.

“IBERS’ grass breeders have used their distinctive grass breeding methodology to build on the strengths of earlier varieties. The combination of high dry matter yields and exceptional quality means an outstanding ME yield in these varieties, but combined with the important agronomic traits (ground cover, persistency, disease resistance) that ensure the grasses perform in the field.

“High water soluble carbohydrate (sugar) content that is inherent in the Aber ryegrasses is the result of a 30-year breeding programme that has focused on combining the highest quality with all other important traits. It’s great news for livestock farmers all over the world that the breeding programme is continuing its progress so positively.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.