The perennial ryegrass AberGreen has become only the second forage grass variety to receive the prestigious Variety Cup from the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB).

It recognises varieties that have made a major contribution to crop productivity through improved quality, disease resistance, grower return or commercial success.

AberGreen is produced by the same breeders as AberGain and AberChoice which are two of the top performing grasses on the Teagasc Pasture Profit Index (PPI) and is commercially available through Germinal.

It is one of the latest ryegrass varieties available in Ireland from the Aber High Sugar Grass range and has been on the UK recommended list since 2011.

The successful grass variety has a higher Water Soluble Carbohydrate (WSC) content but without a proportional increase in protein.

This allows for a close to the optimum forage protein-to-energy balance for efficient livestock production.

Germinal’s Dr Mary McEvoy added that ruminant animals are poor converters of grass protein into milk and protein.

She said that only 20% of the protein form the herbage is actually used for production.

“Improving the protein-to-energy balance in grass will have real benefits for production and the environment,” she said.

The higher levels of WSC provides the animals with more readily available energy to the rumen for meat and milk production.

Professor Athole Marshall, Head of Plant Breeding at IBERS added that AberGreen has been a success and is an excellent overall grass.

“AberGreen has an excellent combination of yield, quality, ground cover and WSC content which delivers improved animal performance.”

The relatively new variety has outstanding dry matter yield combined with exceptional D-value and is one of the highest rated perennial ryegrasses in terms of Metabolisable Energy (ME) yield available.