Callan - A new AFBI ryegrass variety now available for spring 2020

Date published: 09 December 2019

Area of Expertise:

Callan is the most recent perennial ryegrass variety to be released from the AFBI grass breeding programme at Loughgall. The variety will be marketed through AFBI’s commercial partner Barenbrug UK Ltd, and limited quantities of seed will be available in spring 2020.

Pictured L-R, David Linton (Barenbrug, Regional Sales Manager NI), Gillian Young (AFBI Grass Breeder) and Mhairi Dawson (Barenbrug, Regional Sales Manager, Scotland).

Callan is an important new addition to AFBI’s late heading diploid perennial ryegrass portfolio. Callan heads on the 1st June and is an excellent all-around performer, producing high annual yields of good quality grass under both grazing and conservation management.

Data from across the UK, published in the independent Recommended Grass and Clover Lists (England and Wales), show that Callan is particularly high yielding under grazing management (103% compared with controls), and performs particularly well in spring. No other late diploid variety on the list yielded more highly in spring than Callan under grazing management (108% of the mean of all late diploid varieties on the list), cementing its future place as one of the best performing diploid perennial ryegrass varieties in spring in the UK.

Callan has been developed as a replacement for Tyrella, which has been a very popular variety on farm since its first appearance on recommended lists in 2008. Callan is similar in type to Tyrella, providing excellent spring growth coupled with high annual yields and nutritional quality.

The AFBI grass breeding programme

Callan hails from a long line of excellent varieties of high reputation produced by the grass breeding programme at AFBI, Loughgall and sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Advances in grass breeding research mean that new varieties coming onto the market show improvements in yield and nutritional quality compared with varieties currently available, which is a key factor in reducing the carbon footprint of the agricultural sector while increasing efficient productivity.

Grass is the most important crop on farms in Northern Ireland, and one of the most efficient ways of improving productivity from grass is to use suitable varieties which are well adapted to local farming conditions. All AFBI varieties are bred and tested in Northern Ireland to ensure that varieties are fit for purpose under local environmental conditions. Furthermore, all varieties in the pipeline are currently evaluated under grazing conditions, to ensure that varieties are sufficiently persistent, palatable and suitable for Northern Ireland’s grazing systems.

Further testing of new varieties and breeding lines is also carried out by AFBI’s commercial partner, Barenbrug, on sites across the UK and continental Europe. As the AFBI grass breeding programme continues to thrive, the team continue to use advances in grass breeding science to develop a steady supply of new varieties that can meet the ever changing demands of the future grassland industry in Northern Ireland.

Notes to editors: 

AFBI carries out high quality technology research and development, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing functions for DAERA and   other Government departments, public bodies and commercial companies.

AFBI's Vision  is “Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food Sectors Through Scientific Excellence”.

AFBI's core areas:
            - Leading improvements in the agri food industry;
            - Protecting animal, plant and human health;
            - Enhancing the natural and marine environment.

All media enquiries to AFBI Press Office

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