Enhancing grassland


by Gwawr Parry, Industry development officer, hybu Cig Cymru

A CRUCIAL part of the work of Hcc is to let farmers know about the latest research which can help improve the profitability of the industry. this spring, Hcc has taken part in a range of events and activities which have showcased work on enhancing grassland, bringing experts to meet farmers and industry representatives, and bringing research work together in easy-to-use listings. A high percentage of farms don’t re-seed very often if at all. But while it may appear an expensive exercise, the production benefits it delivers far outweigh the costs. last month a group of grassland experts gathered at coleg cambria llysfasi, ruthin, to share practical information and advice to enable people to squeeze the most out of every inch of pasture. the event was part of Hcc’s ON-Farm programme, a series of events to share innovations from agricultural research and encourage the widest possible take-up of on-farm efficiencies. Hcc also jointly supports the publication of a grass seed industry manual that can help farmers achieve better yields, greater competitiveness and improved profitability. this year’s recommended Grass and clover list for england & Wales will be launched at the royal Welsh Agricultural society Grassland event at the rhug estate, corwen this month. the recommended Grass and clover list is a catalogue of grasses and clovers which have undergone rigorous scientific testing to discover their yield, nutritive quality, disease resistance and persistency attributes and it ranks different grass varieties against one another within set categories. characters measured are annual yield, simulated grazing management yield, conservation management yield, aftermath digestibility, ground cover, winter hardiness and disease resistance. choosing the highest yielding varieties from the recommended list for silage mixtures can mean as much as £110 to £200 per hectare of additional financial benefit to the farmer, compared with using some of the lower yielding varieties on the list. Only around one third of the varieties that can be marketed legally in england and Wales are recommended. the results follow a research programme based on a series of high quality and industry-relevant field trials and quality tests of varieties of herbage grass and clover and seeks to develop a partnership in which all sectors, breeders, farmers, seed mixers and merchants are actively engaged and working together. the list is supported by Hcc, AHDB Beef and lamb, AHDB Dairy and BspB, the association representing the commercial plant breeding industry in the UK.

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