Forage grass experts from Barenbrug UK have announced the availability of Barspectra II, a tetraploid westerwold ryegrass that establishes incredibly quickly and provides large bulky yields of high quality palatable grass throughout the growing season.
Ideal for silage and hay production, Barspectra II is available to UK farmers for the first time following a successful trial at Barenbrug’s Cropvale research site near Evesham in Worcestershire.
Originally listed in Italy, Barspectra II has similar growth habits to other Italian ryegrasses, making it ideal for UK use. Delivering excellent resistance to lodging, frost and disease, Barspectra II is a good choice for farmers that want to extend the growing season in both spring and autumn. Providing very high dry matter yields per hectare, Barspectra II produces a massive first cut but goes on to perform consistently throughout the year, making it suitable for use in multi-cut systems. In terms of nutritional value and palatability, Barspectra II has high digestibility, crude protein content and is rich in soluble sugars.
UK trials of Barspectra II began in September 2014. The aim was to assess the growing potential of different westerwold varieties in the UK; currently there is no recommended list for westerwolds in the UK. As well as yield the team observed characteristics such as ground cover, stem to leaf ratio and persistency.
Significant differences were observed in all aspects of the trial with yield differences reaching over 4t DM/ha. Five cuts of Barspectra were taken over the course of the trial in March, May, June, August and October – with the May and June cuts accounting for 64.2% of the yield. Where other varieties tailed off after the third cut in June, Barspectra II kept on yielding. Overall, results showed that Barspectra II offered a 9.1% improvement on Bartempo – which performed least well in the trial – with the potential to give 6.89t/ha FRWT more (1.38tDM worth £192 if dry matter is valued at £140/t).
Mhairi Dawson, Research & Development Manager (Forage) at Barenbrug UK, said: “Barspectra II was originally bred for use in Southern Europe but our trials at Cropvale showed it literally jumping out of the ground. With high levels of productivity in the season of sowing, Barspectra II is a useful crop for farmers that want to get the growing season underway early in spring and extend it right into the autumn after maize or cereal.”