Three of four new grass varieties from Barenbrug UK have top scores in their respective categories on the Recommended Lists, including a perennial ryegrass that boasts the highest silage ME yield of any late diploid variety.

Ballyvoy, bred in Northern Ireland by AFBI, demonstrated outstanding performance under both cutting and grazing regimes, but its truly distinguishing characteristic was a silage ME yield of 134,400MJ/ha – alongside an excellent winter hardiness score of 7.3.

“Ballyvoy is the latest example of success from the 30-year partnership between AFBI and Barenbrug UK,” said Mhairi Dawson, research and development manager for Barenbrug UK. “It outperformed all other late diploid varieties on the England and Wales lists for both annual yield and quality under silage management,” Mhairi continues.

“Another key attribute was undoubtedly its high spring growth, comparable with earlier heading varieties despite its own heading date of June 2.”

On average, Ballyvoy gave a cutting yield of 15.79t DM/ha, while the grazing yield across all UK trials was 9.85t DM/ha.

Also topping the lists – this time for silage yield – was Dundrod, another late diploid variety from the AFBI programme. Specifically bred for silage production, it out-competed all other late diploid varieties for first-cut yields by delivering 112% of the mean.

Read more: Barenbrug and AFBI celebrates 30 years of grass breeding hits

“AFBI has spent nearly 15 years perfecting Dundrod and it’s a great example of their determination to produce a British-bred, high-performance grass to fulfil a specific on-farm role. Its added attractions include a high-scoring 6.4 for crown-rust resistance, great autumn ground cover and good winter hardiness,” said Ms Dawson.

Two further varieties to make it on to the lists both originate from Barenbrug’s Dutch breeding programme.

Barimax – the first of Barenbrug’s Italian ryegrasses to reach the Scottish Recommended Lists – is a tetraploid, scoring ‘excellent’ on winter hardiness, spring growth and crown rust resistance. It had a 18.41t DM/ha first-year average across all sites

Baronaise, the highest quality Timothy available on the Recommended Lists with a ME yield of 123,760MJ/ha had as top-ranking quality score, excellent ground cover and good winter hardiness.

All four new varieties will be available from Barenbrug distributors in spring 2022.