Plant breeder Limagrain UK has launched a new range of grass seed mixtures which have been scientifically formulated to deliver high levels of energy and give an enhanced level of animal performance. The mixtures contain grass varieties selected not only for their high sugar content, but also for their good digestibility and overall high energy levels. The superior nutritional quality of these new mixtures qualifies them for LGAN (Limagrain Animal Nutrition) status.
Limagrainâs Ian Misselbrook explains: âThe grass varieties included in a ley mixture need to have good agronomic characteristics, such as Dry Matter yield and disease resistance, plus good quality characteristics. These include: D-Value, digestible fibre (measured as DNDF – Digestible Neutral Detergent Fibre), sugars (WSC – Water Soluble Concentrates), and protein.
âIn fact, thereâs more to maximising animal performance from grass than just selecting varieties from a Recommended List. Energy in grass comes from the sugars, and also the digestible fibre â so D-Value and DNDF are important considerations. Ruminants also need to have the right balance of energy and protein. If protein is lacking, then the full energy potential of a silage, grazed ley, or TMR ration, cannot be realised.â
âLimagrainâs new mixtures have been formulated taking into account all the factors which impact on quality, as well as yield.â
The scientific formulation of the new LGAN mixtures has been made possible by the advent of NIRS technology â this enables quality characteristics to be more easily measured in the field. This has been a key evaluation tool in a large pan-European trials programme where quality data from a large number of individual grass varieties at different sites and over different seasons, has been collated and analysed.
A database of over 5,000 measurements now exists, and from this, the five new LGAN mixtures for the UK have been formulated. The range includes two silage mixtures: one is a short-term ley designed to produce maximum yields of high energy silage, whilst the other contains red and white clovers and is formulated to produce high protein silage. The other mixtures are for intensive grazing and extended grazing systems, and a dual purpose mixture for highly nutritious grazing and silage from the same field.
The excellent nutritional quality of these new grass mixtures qualifies them for LGAN status (LG Animal Nutrition). This is an accreditation which recognises the superior nutritional value of a forage variety or mixture. It is already used to differentiate Limagrainâs highest energy maize varieties.
Mr Misselbrook explains: âNow farmers can benefit from the LGAN concept for grass mixtures too: it helps guide them to selecting grass mixtures which have the best potential to boost animal performance.â
The new LGAN mixtures can be obtained through any recognised seed merchant, so farmers should contact their regular supplier or one of Limagrainâs distributors.
For further information, farmers can visit www.limagrain.co.uk or call Limagrain on 01472 371471.