OpenFields

1062: Climate change: solutions from the grassland sector

This paper has been taken from a summary by Matt Mellor of Agribusiness Communications of Mitigating Climate Change: Solutions from the Grassland Sector, a seminar organised by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) and the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS) and held at Stoneleigh Park on 27th May 2010. The seminar was supported by British Seed Houses and aimed to highlight IBERS research on high sugar grasses and clovers which assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock and to discuss how to make the wider agricultural industry aware of these developments.

Year of Publication2010

Plant breeding is a cost effective route to delivering increased production and improved environmental protection. High sugar ryegrass (HSG) varieties, bred at IBERS, improve (nitrogen) N use in the rumens of cattle and sheep, reducing emissions and increasing milk and meat production. Modern clovers are a high yielding and persistent quality forage that can replace fertilizer and reduce nitrous oxide emissions. Birdsfoot trefoil has high palatability and could be useful to farmers at sites with low fertility, particularly in the uplands. Utilisation of grass for animal production in the UK can be viewed as inefficient relative to other food production systems, and we need to involve all parts of the food chain in determining research and knowledge transfer requirements.

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