Grass seed selections favour quality

Grass seed selections favour quality

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When dairy farmers are selecting grass varieties for reseeding they now rank D-value and persistence higher than dry matter, according to a British Seed Houses farmer survey. 

This finding reflects changes in priorities over the last 10 years as the merits of producing more milk from grass have become better understood and the choice of higher quality ryegrass varieties has increased, says the company’s agricultural director Paul Billings.

The survey is derived from interviews with over 250 dairy farmers attending the main agricultural technical events. Priorities for beef and sheep farmers differed from those of dairy farmers, with total yield still more important than D-value to this audience.

 “We know from independent research that each unit of D-value equates to between 0.25 and 0.4 litres/cow/day in extra production and it would appear that dairy farmers are now factoring this in to their grass variety selection," says Paul.

In recent years the difference between the highest and lowest even amongst officially recommended varieties has increased significantly, he adds. "For example, amongst intermediate heading diploid perennial ryegrasses alone on the current Recommended Lists for England and Wales, the difference in mid-summer D-value between the highest and the lowest is over 4 D-value points. This equates to at least 1.0 litre/cow/day in production terms, which is a massive uplift if efficiency and profitability."

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