Livestock ryegrass wins research award

The IBERS plant breeding programme at Aberystwyth University responsible for the creation and development of high sugar ryegrasses now used widely by livestock farmers in Ireland, the UK and worldwide has been recognised in the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards for 2013.

Aberystwyth University has been shortlisted in the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology category of the awards having submitted an entry that focuses on the breeding and development of Aber High Sugar Grasses (AberHSG).

Now in its ninth year, the awards are a high-profile opportunity to celebrate the excellence and outstanding achievements of UK higher education institutions, focusing on the two core pursuits of teaching and research.

The creation of Aber High Sugar Grasses at Aberystwyth University is an example of how academic research expertise can work effectively in partnership with commercial enterprise to deliver much needed innovation for the farming industry. Germinal Holdings has been the long term commercial partner in the grass breeding programme at IBERS and markets Aber High Sugar Grasses worldwide.

“Recognition of the work done by the grass breeders at IBERS – at this level and beyond the agricultural industry – underlines the importance of their breakthrough for livestock farmers,” comments Oliver Vaughan, managing director of Germinal Seeds.

“Aber High Sugar Grasses have become an established choice for milk producers and livestock farmers seeking the best returns from grassland, throughout Ireland, Britain and as far afield as New Zealand. These varieties increase the efficiency of milk and meat production whilst at the same time reducing methane and nitrogenous emissions by up to 20%. Several of the major retailers in Britain (Asda and Sainsbury’s) are now incentivising their producers to use Aber High Sugar Grasses, because of their increased efficiency and the opportunity to reduce carbon footprints.”

The Times Higher Education Awards dinner and ceremony takes place on Thursday 28 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. This spectacular event will be attended by over 1,000 guests, including government ministers and academic and university staff of every level.

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