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Dairy Focus
Dairy Focus
While grass variety improvement tends to be slower than
that seen in the grain sector over the past few decades,
the incremental increases in key indices seen in grass
breeding adds to farm profitability over time. Because
grass reseeding is undertaken on a multi-year timeline
compared to annual grain sowing, the royalty generation
from developing new grass varieties is lower. On the other
hand, since 90% of Ireland and much of the neighbouring
island is covered in grass, the volumes and hence
royalties, involved, even if grass reseeding is occasional,
are significant. It's positive to see that there is ongoing
grass variety development and this year saw new varieties
added to the Recommended Grass Varieties list, including
one from a collaborative breeding programme involving
Teagasc and Goldcrop.
Oakpark grass variety
Oakpark, a new late diploid perennial ryegrass variety
with a Pasture Profit Index of 118, has been added to
the 2019 Recommended Grass Variety List in Ireland for
the first time. This is the first variety to be commercialised
from the marketing agreement signed between Teagasc
and Goldcrop in 2013. The Oakpark grass variety has very
good balance for spring, summer and autumn growth
and high silage values. It rates as the second highest late
diploid variety in the recommended list.
Oakpark was bred by Patrick Conaghan who is the forage
grass and clover breeder in Teagasc, based in Oak Park,
County Carlow. Teagasc has an e ective grass breeding
programme with around a one-third share of forage
varieties on the Ireland Recommended List. Its clover
breeding programme is especially strong with many of
the highest preforming clover varieties, including Coolfin,
Buddy and Dublin. Further varieties currently undergoing
seed increase for future release by Goldcrop include
Glenmore and Gleneagle, two late diploid perennial
More grass choices
The continuing improvements in grass varieties
available for reseeding on Irish farms is welcome.