Project number:                    74610

Lead contractor:                   BSPB, NIAB-TAG, IBERS, DFL, Eurograss

Partners:                                   HCC, DairyCo

Start & end date:                   01 May 2012 – 31 March 2019

 

The Problem:

The Recommended List of Herbage Varieties for England & Wales is a system of independent comparative variety trials which identifies the best grass and clover varieties for livestock farmers in the UK. Choosing the best varieties to go into mixtures means better on farm yields, profitability and competitiveness for the UK industry as a whole.

The Recommended List now faces new funding challenges in that a group of significant retail levy payers have given notice that they will no longer support the scheme post June 2012.  The scheme in its current format is not financially viable without their participation, which amounts to an £80-90k pa contribution to the cost of the RGCL programme.  For the RGCL to continue this needs to be replaced.

 

Project Aims:

  • to organise a high quality and industry-relevant programme of field trials and quality tests of varieties of herbage grass and clover varieties;
  • to recommend the best varieties for farmers in England & Wales based on the data from the field trials and quality tests;
  • to make this information available to, and promote its use by, levy payers to improve the quality of grass for meat and milk production and productivity
  • to  produce the Recommended List through a partnership in which all sectors, breeders, farmers, seed mixers and merchants are actively engaged and working together to deliver the best for the industry as a whole.

 

Approach:

The trials will be conducted at NIAB Headley Hall (Yorkshire), IBERS (Aberystwyth) and DLF Trifolium and DSV/Eurograss (split site at Didbrook and Wardington). A project board will be used to plan criteria, strategy and communications.  A crop committee will be established to decide the lists.

 

Deliverables:

RGCL will be available to distribute every May.  It will be available online.  Training sessions for merchants may be developed to ensure they are recommending the correct mixtures to farmers.