AberNiche is an interspecies cross (Italian-type ryegrass x meadow fescue) ie a hybrid grass, adapted to a variety of stress conditions, particularly drought.
Sowing Rate: 20-25 kg/ha
Blend Rate: 10-15 kg/ha
A late maturing variety designed to produce DM later into the season.
Days to flowering relative to Nui (0) = +16
Sow at 20-25kg/ha alone or 10-15kg/ha when a component of a pasture mix. Preferable to sow in warmer soil conditions such as early autumn. Can also provide a spring sowing option to produce summer feed under irrigation or with good rainfall.
AberNiche heralds the beginning of a range of new grass better adapted to various stress conditions which may become more common as a result of climate change. Festulolium combines the abundant yield, or quality trait, of Italian ryegrass with the persistence and deeper root system of meadow fescue.
AberNiche is very productive and persistent when grown by itself but it can be combined in short term mixes with Italian or hybrid ryegrasses. For a longer term grass-based mix consider including perennial or hybrid ryegrasses, plus white, red and sub clover.
AberNiche gives farmers a pasture option which is adapted to a wider range of soils and rainfall zones than straight Italian ryegrass. AberNiche also provides quality feed and persists longer into summer at the time that feed quality usually falls away.
According to Dr Mike Humphreys of IBERS at Aberystwyth University in Wales, AberNiche shows that the transfer of more stress resistant fescue genes into ryegrasses can be achieved without negatively affecting the yield or quality characteristics of the grass. It should, he says, herald a new generation of hybrids offering some major benefits for the future.
“Increased drought tolerance is a major objective and we have already recorded an improvement in water use efficiency (forage yield/unit of water consumed) in some Festulolium of 88%,” he says.
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