High sugar grasses offer dual benefits to New Zealand farmers

Tuesday 24.10.2017 , News

A range of high-performance ryegrasses that have been bred in a state-of-the-art forage improvement programme are making a difference for New Zealand farmers.

Germinal New Zealand is providing Aber High Sugar Grass (HSG) to give Kiwi farmers the ability to increase meat and milk production while also yielding environmental benefits.

Germinal Aber HSG ryegrasses have been bred at the Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Science (IBERS) to contain higher levels of water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) than conventional varieties.

Proven results

In fact, it has been confirmed via independent NZ trials that Aber HSG exhibits a significant increase in WSC when compared to standard ryegrasses.

AberGreen was the highest yielding variety in the third year of a recently concluded National Forage Variety Trial (NFVT) hosted in Southland. In late spring, AberGreen was also the highest yielding variety in a trial conducted to the south of Taupo.

High sugar grass benefits

Bred with higher sugar content, Germinal Aber HSG helps ruminant livestock to convert a higher proportion of grass protein into meat and milk. This fosters a better balance of protein and energy in the rumen. In turn, the microbes breaking down forage act more efficiently and less waste will be excreted.

The data from the independent NZ trials have shown a 10% rise in autumn milk solids when livestock is fed with Aber HSG. Meanwhile, a Southland trial hosted by Abacus Bio determined that lambs grazing on Aber HSG finished 17% earlier and were 19% heavier compared to lambs that consumed standard NZ ryegrass.

Reduced emissions

With Aber HSG, livestock will excrete less nitrogen into the environment. In terms of greenhouse gases, there is a decline in the emission of ammonia, methane and nitrous oxide. In NZ, it has been found that ruminants excreting methane gas account for approximately a third of greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the data indicates that methane emissions can be reduced when sheep are fed on AberMagic versus conventional diploids. Further research shows that cows grazing Aber HSG can generate less rumen ammonia.

In the UK, the scientific merits have already been accepted and livestock farmers in the Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Asda supply chains have been encouraged to utilise Aber HSG varieties to reduce their carbon footprint while becoming more efficient in terms of production.

Kiwi farmers can also benefit by using a grass variety that boosts livestock performance and reduces damaging emissions. Aber HSG offers an innovative solution to the farming challenges of today without requiring a complete change of system.

Contact Germinal NZ by telephone on 0800 171 825 – or your local grass seed merchant – to find out how Aber HSG can work in your farm system.