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New breeds of red clover provide the option for farmers to grow their protein on the farm instead of buying it

Advances that make red clover are more resilient and better able to resist disease explains why the crop is high this protein is being used increasingly by businesses livestock in Britain, according to Professor Athole Marshall, Head Plant breeding IBERS at Aberystwyth University.

Speaking at the Royal Welsh, Professor Marshall to be more focused on protein production on the farm is an important strategy to dairy farms, beef and sheep to ensure their future sustainability, and red clover important role to play in that regard.

“The uncertainty about future subsidies due Brecsit, and the fact that commodity prices will inevitably very volatile, means that livestock farms need to be more self-sufficient,” he said.

“By including highly productive legumes, such as red clover, of rotating crops are produced more protein on the farm itself which means, in turn, may require less nitrogen fertilizer made.”

Red clover is a legume forage high-protein dry product that can create high (12-15tDM / ha) with a 18-22% crude protein on growth of its most British soil.

In the mid 1970s reached its peak clover seed sales of approximately 3,000 tons per year, but in the mid 1990s it was less than 100 tonnes per year and because it is open to diseases such as sclerotinia and nematodau’r stem, and fact that nitrogen fertilizer is relatively inexpensive.

Now a seed sales on the rise, with demand currently goes toward about 500 tons per year.

“There is a growing interest in red clover, and the new varieties means that this species is more attractive to livestock farmers,” added Professor Marshall.

“The latest varieties of clover breeding program IBERS stay in the pasture for four to five years, which means that they are much better aligned with the medium-term gwyndonnydd than varieties grown in the past, and now forms coming from the main program that resist diseases better. ”

Plant breeders IBERS uses molecular techniques to accelerate genetic selection and to reduce the size of trials that are needed in the field to identify the genetic characteristics higher. The current breeding program focuses mainly on the selection of red clover varieties resistant nematodau’r stalk and sclerotinia, but retains other features that are important in terms of agronomy.

“The resistance to both these key pathogens are combined with other important features through back-cross breeding material of the highest quality,” explains Professor Marshall. “The genetic markers are used to help us track the genealogy material selected – thereby ensuring minimal inbreeding problems – and also to prevent any material, although it is disease resistant, agronomic lower quality. ”

In recent years new varieties of clover, which is resistance to disease, have been developed at IBERS red clover breeding program, with AberClaret and AberChianti now on the Approved List of grasses and clover. The breeds have proven that they can produce a substantial crop the fourth and fifth year, compared with two to three years and usually derived from red clover.

Source:Aberystwyth University

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