Highlights from Teagasc PPI Recommended List 2023
For farmers looking at reseeds on the grazing platform, the number one PPI trait to consider is the grazing utilisation trait. This trait is a recent addition to the PPI, and varieties are rated based on a 1- to 5-star scale.
Varieties with a 5-star rating have shown to have the best graze-out and utilisation in Teagasc grazing trials at Moorepark, while varieties with a 1-star rating do not graze well at all.
Farmers are focused on increasing efficiencies on farm, and utilising as much homegrown forage as possible is key to this. Traditionally varieties that produced the most tons were thought to be the best, but farmers are now looking closer at what's not eaten and the associated costs.
Sowing a 5-star variety results in increased grass utilisation and animal production and is easier to manage with cleaner graze-outs, improved grass quality through the grazing season and potentially less topping required.
Additional desirable traits for a grazing variety include seasonal growth, as indicated by spring and autumn growth, and quality.
The performance of varieties differs depending on how they are managed, with some performing better under grazing than cutting and vice versa. Thus, when using the PPI to select varieties, it is important to consider the intended use of the field or paddock to be reseeded.
In an out-block used for silage production, varieties with the highest silage values should be prioritised, followed by spring growth and quality.
In a cut & graze system, a balance must be struck between quality grazing and silage production. For instance, DLF Performance offers an excellent combination of silage yield and grazing quality with Nashota, Anurad and Bowie.
Nashota is DLF's number one variety with an overall PPI value of €214/ha in 2023. Most importantly Nashota has been provisionally awarded a 5-star rating for grazing utilisation. We always say there is no such thing as the perfect variety, but Nashota is as close as you will find with strong spring growth, excellent quality, and a good silage score.
You can find Nashota across DLF's mixture range including DLF 4N Grazer, DLF Grazer, DLF Performance and DLF 6-Species Herbal Ley.
Xenon is the number one grazing variety in Ireland according to the Teagasc grazing trials and the PPI grazing utilisation trait. Like Nashota, Xenon is a NxGen tetraploid which means it has the sward density of a diploid but the quality and grazability of a tetraploid. Xenon has the highest ground cover score of any tetraploid variety on the PPI – 6.2, which is equal to the combined average of all diploid varieties on the PPI.
Xenon is exclusive to DLF 4N Grazer – the number one grazing mixture in Ireland containing only 5-star grazing varieties.
Aspect is another one of DLF's 5-star grazing varieties, second only to Xenon in the PPI ranking. Aspect is a traditional late tetraploid with a high leaf:stem ratio that allows cows graze to low residuals even at high covers.
Aspect is exclusive to DLF 4N Grazer – the number one grazing mixture in Ireland containing only 5-star grazing varieties.
A new late tetraploid with excellent quality value
Anurad is a new late tetraploid for 2023 with an impressive PPI value of €190/ha. Anurad shares many traits with Nashota, like spring and autumn growth. But Anurad's standout feature is its quality. A quality value of €31/ha puts Anurad in the top 5 varieties on the PPI. Anurad is a traditional large-leaf tetraploid with an upright growth habit that makes it easy for cows to graze out, achieving 4 stars for grazing utilisation.
Anurad is used in DLF Grazer, DLF Performance and DLF 6-Species Herbal Ley.
No. 1 Doiploid for Quality on PPI
Bowie is a late diploid with exceptional ground cover. A heading date of 16th June makes Bowie the latest heading variety on the PPI. Later heading date is strongly linked to quality, especially maintaining quality as the season progresses, and this is the case with Bowie. Bowie has the best quality value of any diploid variety on the PPI at €28/ha.
Bowie is included in several DLF mixtures such as DLF Grazer, DLF Performance and DLF 6-Species Herbal Ley.
Grass utilisation is important because it is the amount of grass that we grow that actually goes into the animal to produce milk or meat.
Dr. Thomas Moloney, DLF talks to Tomás Tubritt, Technologist , Pasture Breeding, at Teagasc and the grazing utilisation trait featured as part of the Pasture Profit Index (PPI)