Festulolium – improved grasses from DLF
Dec. 7, 2017
DLF is a specialist grass breeding company. Years of experience and know-how has produced successful varieties - especially our breeding programme in Festulolium has given several varieties, which are widely used across the world.
Festulolium is a cross between meadow fescue (Festuca pratense) or tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) or Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum). When this is done with skills and know-how, it will result in grasses with the best characteristics of each parent.
Depending on parental material a Festulolium will get the best qualities from both grasses but it will somewhat be more similar to either the fescue or the ryegrass type. Hence, Festuloliums can be categorized into two main types - the tall fescue or the ryegrass type - related to their characteristic and phenotypic appearance.
Characterized by high dry matter yield, high cold tolerance, drought tolerance and an overall high persistency you find from fescues, whereas rapid establishment, spring growth, good digestibility, high sugar content and palatability characterise ryegrass.
The breeding programme in DLF pursues the potential of Festulolium, which has resulted in several varieties.
Morphologically and in terms of cultivation, these types resemble tall fescue. The Festulolium tall fescue type from DLF has add-on qualities compared to normal tall fescue. Festulolium tall fescue bred by DLF has:
- Higher digestibility
- Faster establishment, spring and growth rate
- Increased yield
- Very high persistency
The deep root system and tolerance to drought from the tall fescue combined with high digestibility and yield from the ryegrass result in a persistent, high yielding grass for more challenging conditions.
Replacing tall fescue in a grass mixture with a Festulolium tall fescue type result in higher digestibility, hence an increase in intake of feed which evidently result in more milk or meat.
Our successful breeding of Festulolium and better digestibility have paid off. In resent official trials in Denmark DLF festulolium tall fescue type performs approximately 3 % better than the comparable tall fescues.
The ryegrass type
Morphologically and in terms of cultivation, these types resemble ryegrasses. Targeted breeding in relation to the Festulolium ryegrass type have also given several new and better varieties. Some of the qualities are:
- Up to 25 % higher yield than perennial ryegrass
- Better persistency in cold areas
- Comprehensive and fast developing root system
- Upright growth
The high yield, digestibility and comprehensive root system originates from the Italian ryegrass while the high persistency originates from meadow fescue.
Due to fast spring growth, it will be possible to harvest 60 % of the total yield in the first and second cut, when replacing ryegrass or hybrid ryegrass in a grass mixture with a Festulolium ryegrass type.
Breeding for high persistence and still keeping a high yield is achieved in DLF Festulolium ryegrass type. Official trials in Denmark clearly reveal an overall higher yield compared to perennial ryegrass. Compared to perennial ryegrass it is even increasing year after year.
The varieties PERUN, LOFA, PERSEUS and recently HOSTYN are successful varieties from the DLF pipeline.
Utilization of Festulolium
Festulolium will because of their genetic qualities, suit many different growing conditions and they are widely used in various forage production systems.
Festulolium and Alfalfa
Festulolium mixes perfectly with Alfalfa. The ryegrass type can work as a nurse crop whereas tall fescue type will work as an overall improvement of the forage fibre digestibility or an improvement of the persistence of the hay stand.
A combination of Alfalfa and Festulolium can increase dry matter yield with as much as 10 % compared to alfalfa-timothy or alfalfa meadow fescue combinations.
However, Festulolium will also work great in combination with other species, e.g. clover, annual and perennial ryegrasses, orchard grass, tall fescue, timothy, bromes and many others.
If you want to know more about Festulolium and how these types of grasses can help improve your production and income please contact your local dealer of seeds from DLF.
The breeding programme in DLF pursue the potential of Festulolium, which has resulted in several varieties.
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