Barenbrug and AFBI extend grass breeding contract

Barenbrug and AFBI extend grass breeding contract

Monday, July 6, 2009

Since 1991, international grass seed specialist Barenbrug has had a partnership arrangement with DARD and AFBI in Northern Ireland to maximise the commercialisation of Loughgall bred varieties. An extension to the contract between Barenbrug and AFBI, together with DARD support for the strategic research elements of the work, will take the AFBI breeding programme forward on a secure footing for the next 10 years, says Barenbrug. 

This new extended contract will further integrate the Loughgall programme with Barenbrug's world-wide breeding programme, providing novel breeding material and allowing AFBI varieties to be thoroughly tested in the UK and Ireland as well as further afield. 

According to AFBI plant breeder David Johnston, it is a relationship that has proven worthwhile and has scope for even greater development. "When the original contract was signed back in 1991, only one variety, Moy, was commercially available but since then an extensive portfolio of more than 20 varieties have been released and are proving their worth locally and on farms throughout Britain and Ireland," he says. 

"With ever increasing pressure on the livestock industry, the importance of productive, locally adapted grasses is more important than ever and this new contract agreement between AFBI and Barenbrug should ensure a steady flow of new varieties for local farms for many years to come." 

Frank Barenbrug praised the programme and highlighted its achievement in setting new standards. "Climate change will place even more challenges on the grass breeding programme," he adds. "But we are confident that with AFBI we are well placed to meet these changing circumstances and continue to introduce top-performing material not only in terms of yield but also with good disease resistance, palatability and digestibility."



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