Recommended Grass and Clover Lists 2011

Recommended Grass and Clover Lists 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The 2011 Recommended List of Grass and Clover for England and Wales

This year's Recommended List of Grass and Clover for England and Wales (RGCL) offers six new perennial ryegrass varieties, two hybrid ryegrasses - including a festulolium and two white clovers (see list below).

To have made it to be provisionally listed these candidate varieties have proven their value as an overall improvement on the existing recommended varieties, explains NIAB-TAG forage manager Don Pendergrast. "By setting this standard, it ensure breeders have to continually improve the varieties coming forward. Varieties are rigorously tested across a range of characters, including: yield and quality under grazing and conservation management, persistency and disease resistance."

"It's estimated, taking into account the whole process of variety selection before the recommended list tests, that only the top 5% off varieties bred actually makes it to full recommendation, so growers really do get the cream of the crop," says Dr Pendergrast.

"There are a number of new varieties to watch out for this year with interesting characteristics that may benefit growers. Of particular this year we are seeing an increasing number of varieties offering potential yield in the late season which offering something new to the variety mixture."

However, BGS Society Director reminds farmers that to ensure they benefit from these highest quality varieties, they should use a merchant who pays grass seed levy.  "These merchants are able to use information from the independent testing scheme, which is not made public - such as persistence scores, to develop mixtures which really will deliver the required the results. Look for the green hills of the herbage varieties guide logo or NIAB-TAG logo on their brochures and bags," she advises.

A list of levy paying merchants is available in the 2011 RGCL farmer booklet launched this week. Copies will be available at Grassland and Muck, as well as other events from BGS, EBLEX, DairyCo, plant breeding company and levy paying merchants stands. Or you can download a copy by clicking this link   or contact BGS on 02476 696600 or use the contact us link.

The 2011 RGCL booklet also includes useful advice on reseeding and choosing the right grasses.

The list was launched at the Reseeding Day, organized by BGS, DairyCo and EBLEX at Duchy College, Cornwall, on May 5th 2011.

Note: Scotland and Northern Ireland produce their own recommended lists via SAC or DARD, respectively.

Varieties to watch out for:


ABERGREEN (Diploid)                    Status: PG      Heading date: 29th May

Outstanding yield potential and excellent quality both for grazing and conservation, particularly good yields in late summer and autumn make this a very attractive variety for most situations. Variety has good resistance to Crown Rust and Mildew but shows some susceptibility to Drechslera. 

SEAGOE (Tetraploid)           Status: PG      Heading date: 21st May

Seagoe will particularly appeal to those looking for yield potential, as its first year yields are particularly good and it also offers above normal yield potential in spring and late summer. Seagoe also has excellent disease resistance for Mildew and Drechslera.

BRAID (Tetraploid)               Status: PG      Heading date: 29th May

This is a variety that has real strength is in its second half season yield potential. It has outstanding potential under both grazing and conservation management in late summer/autumn. It also has good quality under both managements.


DRIFT (Tetraploid)                Status: PG                  Heading date: 1st June

A strong all-rounder, off particular note is its grazing yield, plus big first cut conservation yield and third year yield potential.

ASPECT (Tetraploid)                        Status: PG      Heading date: 4th June

Good yield potential combined with excellent quality under grazing and conservation. It results in big ME yields. Also offers good crown rust resistance.

XENON (Tetraploid)             Status: PS       Heading date: 7th June

Xenon is considered a special use variety suited to grazing type situations only because of its excellent yield and quality under grazing management and very good persistence.


SCAPINO (Tetraploid)           Status: PS                  Heading date: 23rd May

Listed for special usage where having a good first cut conservation yield is of high important due to its strong first cut yield and quality.

ABERNICHE (Festulolium)  Status: PG                  Heading date: 23rd May

This consistent variety is outperforming most other hybrids on overall yield potential. This variety also has very good second cut conservation and good grazing yields.


SARACEN         Status: PG              Medium Leaf White Clover

A variety with real potential to boost overall yield, this is most noticeable in the late season where the variety offer outstanding yield potential for its size.

IONA               Status: PG                  Medium Leaf White Clover

A very well balanced variety with good seasonal and overall yields. It stands out because of its phenomenal autumn persistency under hand grazing where it outperforms any other medium leaf white clover and almost all small leaved clovers, making it a very desirable clover for all management systems.

Status key: P = provisional; G = general; S = special use.

News release issued by the British Grassland Society on behalf of the organisations which support the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists for England and Wales, which includes the British Society of Plant Breeders, DairyCo, EBLEX, HCC, NIAB-TAG, BGS and the merchants who pay a voluntary levy on forage seed sales to support the testing.


BGS Members BGS is a membership organisation which acts as a communication forum, through events and publications, for the profitable and sustainable use of grass and forage.

Local Societies

BGS Members Use our Local Society directory to locate your nearest societies, information resources and experts on grassland farming and foraging.