Tollymore and crossgar are two new grass varieties included on the recently released 2022/2023 Recommended Grass and Clover Lists (RGCL) for England and Wales.
Both ryegrass varieties were bred by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) at Loughgall in Co. Armagh.
Tollymore is a tetraploid variety, which heads on May 22; crossgar is a later-heading diploid variety, heading on June 4.
Both will also be included on the Recommended Grass and Clover List for Scotland in 2022.
Trials for new grass varieties
Trials have confirmed that both tollymore and crossgar are excellent all-round performers across the season, producing high annual yields of good quality grass under both grazing and silage management.
Tollymore is excellent for use in early grazing situations, yielding more than any other intermediate tetraploid variety throughout the spring.
But the variety also performed extremely well across the grazing season, producing a metabolisable energy (ME) yield well above it competitors.
It achieved 105% of the mean of the intermediate tetraploid control varieties.
ME is the amount of energy in the sample that is available for the animal, and is calculated from the digestibility of the grass (D value). Extensive research has shown that ruminant performance increases when forage contains higher amounts of ME and with increasing D value.
It has been shown that a single point increase in D value equates to 40g/day extra beef liveweight gain, 0.26L of milk/cow/day, and 20g/day of extra lamb liveweight gain.
Research also shows that more digestible forage can have a higher rate of feed passage, reducing the duration of exposure of the feed to ruminal digestion, and potentially reducing methane emissions.
AFBI has a very strong record of developing extremely competitive grass varieties – galgorm is a case in point.
It is now one of the best intermediate-heading diploid varieties currently available in the UK. The variety first entered recommended lists in 2018.
Since then, it has maintained its position at the top of the intermediate diploid category for total yield under both grazing and silage management.
No other intermediate diploid variety on the RGCL is producing more ME yield/ha under grazing management.
Galgorm is a truly special variety that is fast turning into a ‘once in a generation’ production.
Another outstanding variety on the recommended lists across the UK and Ireland is gracehill.
This is a late-heading, tetraploid variety, which attained the coveted spot of the best-performing late-heading perennial ryegrass variety in Irish trials last year.
Across the board, new AFBI varieties have shown consistent and significant improvements in traits such as yield, digestibility and disease resistance.
Annual yield improvements of 0.52% under silage management and 0.35% under grazing have been confirmed.