Plant breeder Limagrain UK has launched two new Italian ryegrass varieties, Melprimo and Messina, onto the UK and Ireland market. The varieties were both bred by ILVO, the Belgium government’s plant breeding institute and are ranked highly for key yield and feed value parameters on the Recommended Lists. They are available exclusively from the company as straights or in high performance grass seed mixtures.

Melprimo is a diploid Italian ryegrass that is recommended on both the RGCL (England and Wales) and the SRUC (Scotland) lists. It exhibits the best early spring growth on the list, achieving 107% of the mean, and high digestibility in both first and second year harvests.

Messina is a tetraploid Italian ryegrass with the highest yields in the year of sowing and the first-year harvest among other varieties on the recommended UK lists. It also has a high ME yield, reflecting its potential feed value in livestock diets.

“Both new varieties are winter hardy,” says Limagrain grass seed manager Ian Misselbrook. “Melprimo has good ground cover and trial results show that Messina has good resistance to all the major diseases. We are using both in our Sinclair McGill Colossal Silage mixture and including Messina in the Monarch Quality Silage mixture this year.”

Limagrain is also introducing Weldone, a new late tetraploid perennial ryegrass, to a limited number of grass seed mixtures this year. “This variety has just gone on the RL and we are including it in Sinclair McGill Castlehill, which is a dual-purpose, long-term mixture,” Mr Misselbrook comments. “Trial results show that Weldone has excellent grazing yields of high-quality forage and will promote mid-season and autumn yields, with good resistance to all the major grass diseases. It will be more widely available in 2021.”

• The company has published its LG Monarch 2020 grass mixtures catalogue, ready for the sowing season, including the addition of Messina Italian ryegrass to the Quality Silage mixture. Quality Silage also carries the LGAN accreditation, denoting its proven agronomic and feed value characteristics.

Other LGAN accredited mixtures for grazing, cutting or dual purpose include LGAN Intensive Grazing, LGAN Silage and Grazing, LGAN Matrix 40 and LGAN Multigraze.

“The LGAN accreditation helps farmers and growers in selecting mixtures that have a proven performance record in the UK for yield and feed value characteristics,” says Limagrain’s John Spence. “They have been trialled at our UK Innovation site, alongside other commercially available grass seed mixtures, and have performed well across the board, reflecting their superior growth and nutritional traits.”

More information and copies of the new LG Monarch catalogue are available via the www.lgseeds.co.uk/crops/grass webpages.