The AFBI Grass Breeding programme
In Ireland, Barenbrug is the commercial partner to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) grass breeding programme based at Loughgall, Co. Armagh. Advances in grass breeding research is delivering new varieties with improved yield and nutritional quality to the market.
The AFBI Grass Breeding programme is extensive, with over 10 hectares of grass trials in 3,000 plots. In addition, further testing of new varieties and breeding lines is carried out by commercial partner Barenbrug on sites across the UK and continental Europe and also on Irish farms. Genetic material used by AFBI is of diverse background, making use of winter-active material from New Zealand, winter-hardy varieties from Eastern Europe and disease resistant lines from France. Furthermore, all AFBI varieties are currently evaluated under grazing conditions, to ensure that varieties are sufficiently persistent, palatable and suitable for use under grazing conditions throughout Ireland.
Through the breeding programme in AFBI and our partnership with Barenbrug, Germinal have brought some outstanding varieties to the Irish market including; Drumbo, Tyrella, Seagoe, Dunluce, Clanrye and Navan. More recently, the late heading tetraploid variety – Ballintoy, new to the Recommended List in 2019, has outstanding seasonal growth, quality and silage yield figures on the Teagasc Pasture Profit Index (PPI).
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