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    Scottish Merchants Visit AFBI Breeding Station
18/12/07

Eight leading Scottish agricultural distributors had the opportunity to see and hear about the latest forage grass breeding developments on a recent visit to the AFBI breeding station at Loughgall in Northern Ireland.

David Johnston explains to the group of Scottish agricultural distributors the work involved at the AFBI breeding station at Loughgall in Northern Ireland.

AFBI breeding station

The intricacies of breeding a new variety and the selection processes involved were explained by AFBI plant breeder David Johnston and David Long and Billy Nimmo from Barenbrug.

Speaking about the visit Barenbrug’s Scottish manager Billy Nimmo said: “We appreciated the opportunity to show these merchants the programme in Northern Ireland which is providing UK livestock producers with top-quality forage varieties.

“It gave them the opportunity to see how new material is developed and identified and the processes involved before we can bring new varieties to market that will help livestock farmers produce top quality home grown forage.

“The programme with AFBI has already been successful in bringing many new and significant varieties to the marketplace, including Foyle, a completely new and unique type of Hybrid ryegrass; and Portrush, a late-heading perennial ryegrass. The latest varieties to join this line-up, available in Barenbrug XL mixtures for the first time in 2008, are two top performing perennial ryegrasses Malone and Tyrella.”

Malone is an intermediate tetraploid variety with exceptionally high silage production, high resistance to leaf-spot disease and excellent grazing yields. While Tyrella is a late heading variety producing excellent total yields when cut or grazed. Its spring production is exceptional for a late heading variety, which means it is ideal for spring grazing. Both varieties are recommended by the SAC, NIAB and AFBI.

David Johnston highlighted the importance of the Northern Ireland programme and how it has strong links to the trials at the SAC. “We have a special arrangement with SAC to ensure that a wide range of new perennial ryegrasses, Timothys and hybrid ryegrasses, bred by AFBI and Barenbrug programmes on the Continent, is tested on their Aberdeen site before marketing commences. This new move will ensure that Scottish grassland farmers have access to varieties which are particularly well adapted to their own conditions.”

The group of Scottish merchants included representatives from Agrovista, Dalgety,
D Simpson Agriculture, R McCoull Agriculture, UAP/Grainfarmers and W & A Geddes.

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