Using new technology to fill feed gap

Plant breeders Germinal are using new technology to help fill the feed gap, as spring 2021 has been another cold and dry one, and with slow grass growth, forage is running short on many farms.

This year, a new variety has joined the recommended list. AberRoot is a perennial Festulolium, the first cross of its type ever to be listed and the result of several decades of research at Aberystwyth University.

On the 2021/22 Recommended Grass and Clover (RGCL) list, AberRoot shows growth in those difficult periods of early spring and mid-summer when grass growth can be slow.

AberRoot is the product of crossing Festuca mairie (Atlas Fescue) and Aber High Sugar Grass (ABER HSG).

The resulting variety has the forage quality associated with Aber HSG and the rooting depth, drought and cold tolerance of a Fescue native to the Atlas Mountains of north Africa.

“It is important to note, not all Festuloliums are the same,” said Germinal Great Britain’s managing director, Paul Billing.

“AberRoot is a unique cross and the only perennial fescue cross to have made the high standard required by the RGCL.

Further research is ongoing, but early indications show this particular species cross may also improve nitrogen [N] proteolysis in the rumen, slowing the breakdown of protein, and allowing the animal to capture more for meat and milk production and omit less as greenhouses gases.”

Coupling this with the Aber High Sugar Grass trait enabling rumen microflora to capture protein (N) more effectively, is an exciting solution for increasing production, reducing costs, improving technology and working towards net zero by 2040.