Germinal support the GreenLamb project. Undertaken by PhD student Jonathan Higgins and his supervisors Dr. Tommy Boland and Dr. Bridget Lynch, GreenLamb is examining productivity, efficiency and sustainability in a pasture based sheep system. The study will investigate the performance of Belclare, Llyen and Mule ewes on a forage based diet. Comparisons across the three breeds’ intake at pasture and on forage crops will be recorded along with costs associated with each breed. Crops investigated will include perennial ryegrass, white clover and alternative species including plantain and chicory. Redstart, a hybrid brassica will also be included to assess how it can fit into finishing lambs without concentrates. The objective of this trial is to show which is the most cost-effective breed to stock on this type of farm system both from a sustainability viewpoint and with respect to more net profit for the farmer at the end of the year. This work began in 2018 and will continue until 2022.
Teagasc Moorepark on Farm Trial
At Germinal, we believe the ultimate test of any variety is its performance on farm. Therefore we strongly support the on-farm trials conducted through Teagasc Moorepark on over 70 commercial grassland farms right across Ireland. This trial is investigating the performance of grass varieties, from a yield, quality, palatability and persistency perspective and is helping identify which varieties are performing better out on farms. Varieties are sown on commercial dairy, beef and sheep farms and the farmer records grass growth through the PastureBase Ireland programme on a weekly basis. The data is then collated and the average performance of varieties is determined each year. This is a long-term trial which began in 2011.
Table 1. Results of the Teagasc on Farm trial (2013 to 2015)
Source: Teagasc Variety Evaluation
At Germinal, we believe that performance on farm is the ultimate test of our varieties. We work with a number of farmers both locally and further afield in Ireland to test our varieties and mixtures under real farm conditions. We believe seeing how a mix is performing for the farmer and the feedback we get on yield, graze-out, ease of grazing and persistency is invaluable information we can share with our customers. In addition to grass and clover mixtures sown out on farm we are also monitoring the performance of multi-species swards, including: red clover, white clover, plantain, and chicory under both cattle and sheep grazing.
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