New edition of grassland ‘bible’ helps sow the seeds of farm profitability

A new edition of the definitive grass seed industry reference list that can help farmers achieve better yields and greater profitability will receive its Welsh launch at Royal Welsh Grassland Event at Carnbwll, Four Crosses, Welshpool on 16 May, 2018.

The Recommended Grass and Clover List for England & Wales identifies the best grass and clover varieties for beef, sheep and dairy farmers in the UK, including 13 new varieties for this year. The field trials on which the data for the ‘grassland bible’ is based are partly funded by Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Alongside the potential for directly increasing farm yields, profitability and competitiveness, the Recommended List also drives continued variety improvement by plant breeders, maintains UK-based plant breeding expertise and provides valuable independent data for the merchants who are creating and selling seed mixtures to farmers.

“Choosing the highest yielding varieties from the Recommended List can give farmers 5-15 per cent additional production in terms of yield or quality”, explained HCC Industry Development Officer Gwawr Parry. “This can mean as much as £110 per hectare per year of additional financial benefit to the farmer, compared with using some of the lower yielding varieties.”

“The List is based on independently-verified data from years of field trials across Britain,” added Gwawr. “Only around one third of the varieties that can be marketed in England and Wales are recommended in the guide.”

HCC will also have a stand presence at the Grassland Event, with a range of practical handbooks available for farmers, as well as a competition which will test contestants’ knowledge of how grassland management can improve farm productivity.

Gwawr Parry said; “We are offering an industry-leading grass plate meter worth £300 as the prize in our competition at the Grassland Event, so I’m sure we’ll have many keen contestants! Also, HCC is looking forward to engaging with farmers in this important event in the agricultural calendar.”

HCC is also co-organising the seminar series at Carnbwll, which features grassland experts from the UK and abroad, and a keynote presentation from HCC Chairman Kevin Roberts on the future of the red meat industry after Brexit.