The 2023/2024 Recommended Grass and Clover Lists (RGCL) for England and Wales have now been released, with six new varieties added.
This year it includes one Italian ryegrass and five new perennial ryegrass varieties, with 16LP10T01* now described under its name, Erinvale.
All new perennial grass varieties must have at least six harvest years of independent, rigorous testing at trial sites across the UK before having sufficient data to be considered for addition to the Recommended List.
Varieties are assessed on total annual yields and seasonal growth under both conservation and simulated grazing management systems.
ME yield, ground cover, winter hardiness and disease resistance are also considered. Each variety must show a clear improvement against the varieties already on the list before being granted provisional status.
Every new variety will then be reassessed after a further five years in order to be retained and become recommended for general use.
The RGCL is funded by plant breeders through the British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB), the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), British Grassland society (BGS) and Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC).
The Forage Crop team at NIAB, who coordinate the RGCL Trials on behalf of the BSPB, said: “The RGCL continues to challenge grass and clover breeders to increase production efficiency as well as environmental and economic sustainability.
"Yield potential and feeding quality are emphasised in order to produce high quantities of highly digestible forage whilst increasing nitrogen use efficiency in a range of conditions across England and Wales.
“Choosing varieties from the RGCL provides growers with accurate, robust, independent data to select the best available varieties.
"Growers, alongside their seed merchants, can tailor variety mixtures to best meet the requirements of their specific system, growing conditions and animal requirements leading to feed volume, quality and required timeliness of productive growth matching their need.”
In addition to providing information on each variety, the RGCL supporting information also includes a range of technical information for farmers on how to manage their reseed and maximise the productivity of their swards.
The 2023/2024 RGCL handbook and the full lists for merchants is now available to download from AHDB's website.