DLF grass breeder held a focus event on DLF Grass Partner Michael and Bernie O Sullivan’s Farm in Castleisland, Kerry with Grasstec and Teagasc today. Key topics covered at the event were; soil nutrition, with an emphasis on P K & Lime, grassland management, residuals, regrowth and covers and finally grass varieties. Michael is one of four farmers within the DLF Grass Partner Program aimed at improving grassland utilisation with specific concentration on ryegrass varietal performance. Michael has been using DLF varieties since 2016 and after joining the DLF Grass Partner Program in 2018 has begun sowing individual varieties of perennial ryegrass and feeding the performance data back into the partner program.
Earlier this year DLF announced the introduction of the Grasstec Group to the Partner program as the official independent ‘analysis partner’. Grasstec’s grass measuring team have been visiting DLF’s partner farms on a regular basis to measure and record grassland, with a particular emphasis on capturing data around the progression of DLF’s latest varieties. Noel Gowan spoke on the Day “there are four rules of grassland management, that pertaining to residuals, rotation length, protecting regrowth and pregrazing covers.”
Speaking at the event DLF General Manager Paul Flanagan said “What is happening on Michaels farm & the other three partner farms is essentially an extension to our research program. We analyse roughly 1,500 varieties every year in Waterford by mechanically cutting the plots with a Haldrup Harvester which indicates the key performers. What we are answering here on the partner farms is how those key performers do in front of cows as opposed to mechanically cutting. This year Michael is grazing a new DLF variety called Nashota which is not yet on the Irish recommended list or PPI. On paper from our Waterford trials and early department results, Nashota has the potential to be a market leader in Ireland. Here in Kerry, Michael and 110 black and white ladies will determine its grazing potential!
What we have seen so far from the work carried out on the partner farms very much mirrors the results from grazing studies published by Moorpark earlier this year where DLF varieties like Nifty, Aspect, Solas and Xenon have performed very well under actual grazing trials. Speaking at the event graze out and utilazation was essentially a theme. In his introduction Michael O Sullivan stated “We joined the Grass Partner program with DLF in 2018 because we wanted to get more from our farm and had confidence DLF could help us bring our goals to fruition”.
DLF have invested like no other in research since getting involved in the Irish market in 2015, having screened over 6,000 varieties to date for application in Ireland. “Nashota comes from our first round of trials in Ireland meaning we may have a winning variety with our first attempt from Irish trials. More interesting, is since then we have been selecting the parent lines in Ireland and crossing specifically for the Irish market. This Autumn we will sow varieties bred specifically for Ireland in Waterford trials. If our first attempt with Nashota has a chance of adding value to farmers like Michael here today, our Irish breeding efforts will ensure we continue to add value to Irish farmers for years to come” added DLF Paul Flanagan.
Launched in 2017 the “More Milk with DLF” Grass Partner programme is a long-term project that will aid the grassland utilisation for the four farmers involved. Here in Kerry Denis Brasil of Teagasc, Adam Heffernan of KFA and Noel Gowan have all played their part in working to make this happen for Farmers across the island of Ireland can follow the participating farmers progress on twitter @DLF_IRL, on Facebook @DLFIreland or sign-up to DLF’s newsletter by emailing email@example.com.
Kilkenny Native Appointed as DLF Ireland’s New Trials Manager
DLF Ireland, part of the world’s leading grass breeding company, has recently appointed Edward Power as their new Trials Manager. Edward, who has over 20 years’ experience in the amenity grass business, will be managing DLF’s large forage grass and crop trial programme in Faithlegg Co. Waterford.
Commenting on the appointment, DLF Ireland’s General Manager Paul Flanagan said “This is a very unique role that requires a heightened attention to detail, coupled with a passion for grass. Edward’s approach is all about setting standards, and backed by the assistance of DLF’s Global breeding and trials network, he will cement DLF’s position as a breeder and valued contributor to Irish grassland.”
Hailing from Co. Kilkenny, although working in the amenity sector for most of his career, Edward has never been far removed from Agriculture. It is this unique combination that will enable Edward to excel in the role, as he draws on his knowledge from both sectors. Speaking about his appointment he commented; “This position is a fantastic opportunity for me to be part of a global company like DLF, whilst delivering a meaningful impact on Irish grassland. I have made a living from grass for the last 20 years and this unique role will allow me to make a significant contribution to Irish grassland and ultimately progress Irish grassland farming.”
DLF’s grass breeding and trials programme in Co. Waterford is the largest of its kind on the island of Ireland. In 2018 DLF harvested almost 2,500 plots in their breeding site, along with 22,000 single plants which will form the parent line for future grass varieties. Working alongside global grass breeding colleagues, Edward will be responsible for managing a research programme that will ultimately breed the next generation of grass varieties for the Irish market.