Working 24-7

DLF in New Zealand has developed a new ryegrass for local launch that works hard for farmers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Successful breeding in New Zealand

24SEVEN perennial ryegrass has been bred in New Zealand by DLF plant breeder Pedro Evans, and is already becoming popular on farms.

24SEVEN heads 24 days later than standard New Zealand cultivars, which has the advantage of providing more leafy and high quality feed throughout spring. As a result, farmers have found it easy to graze and to maintain quality, thus their animals perform well.

Late heading ryegrasses are not always desirable in this country because they tend to have slower growth in early spring, which is a crucial period because farmers are just starting their new season and have high requirements for pasture to graze animals after calving or lambing. Evans was aware of this, and in his breeding programme he selected heavily for growth at this time and through winter. The result is that 24SEVEN is a great “all-rounder”, with growth in winter and early spring better than most early cultivars.

24SEVEN is expected to become one of DLF’s most popular ryegrasses in New Zealand and it is available in the two new DLF endophytes HAPPE and EDGE, and therefore suited to all regions. While many countries do not use ryegrasses with endophyte, for most parts of New Zealand it benefits pasture production by reducing insect damage and improving persistence.

HAPPE is unique because it enables the plant to produce lolines, which deter a wide range of insects, including African black beetle (Heteronychus arator), Argentine stem weevil (Listronotus bonariensis), and porina (Wiseana spp.).

A major feature of HAPPE is that it does not produce animal toxins, so it has no negative effect on them, in fact they seem to prefer pasture with HAPPE.

24SEVEN with HAPPE on the right has been preferred by animals during summer and autumn to 24SEVEN with a ryegrass endophyte on the left.