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Multispecies forages as alternatives to perennial ryegrass: Beyond white clover!

Dr Anna Thomson, Research Scientist, Animal Production Sciences, Ellinbank

Grassland is a crucial resource for the ruminant livestock industries within the agricultural sector. In most temperate regions globally, this land is predominantly sown with ryegrass: a high yielding species that can provide good quality forage but is reliant upon the application of sufficient nitrogen fertiliser, and susceptible to drought. Nitrogen fertiliser is expensive and has a high carbon and nitrogen footprint. Therefore, multiple research projects in recent years have investigated the replacement of monoculture pastures with mixed-species leys. Their aim has been to achieve acceptable yields of good quality forage for livestock production whilst having a positive and long term impact on the environment.

In this seminar, Anna Thomson, who previously worked at the University of Reading (UK) before joining the Ellinbank team, will discuss her previous research into mixed-species pastures as part of a collaborative 5-year study: ‘The DiverseForage Project’ and also summarise the findings of other notable European studies on this subject matter.

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