Research and farming working together to develop grassland varieties resilient to extreme weather events to mitigate climate change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceeding (Non-Journal item)


Extreme weather events like flooding and drought are becoming more prevalent as the effects of climate change begin to impact. To increase resilience to these, grass and clover breeders at IBERS are working to develop plants with stronger, deeper root systems and improved root-soil interactions leading to greater water-use-efficiency and improved soil hydrology. Certain Festulolium (ryegrass × fescue species' hybrids) have been shown to reduce surface run off by increasing soil porosity and enhancing soil-water retention. Using participatory research and working with industry partners, eight commercial development farms were selected to cover a range of soil types, geographical areas and livestock sectors (ruminant and mono-gastric) across the UK. Two 1 ha areas of single variety grass leys: Festulolium (cv AberNiche) and hybrid ryegrass (cv AberEve) were established in accordance with standard farm practice. The field performance of these novel grasses and clovers has been monitored by farmers and researchers together to study whether changes in individual plant design, when reproduced at the field scale, can deliver future resilient grassland varieties that provide excellent forage for livestock and improved soil hydrology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable meat and milk production from grasslands
Subtitle of host publication27th General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation
EditorsB. Horan, D. Hennessey, M. O'Donovan, E. Kennedy, B. McCarthy, J. A. Finn, B. O'Brien
ISBN (Print)9781841706436
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event27th EGF General Meeting: Sustainable meat and milk production from grasslands - Cork, Ireland
Duration: 17 Jun 201821 Jun 2018
Conference number: 27

Publication series

NameGrassland Science in Europe


Conference27th EGF General Meeting
Period17 Jun 201821 Jun 2018


  • Festulolium
  • ryegrass
  • soil hydrology
  • resilient grassland


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