IDIPLOID v TETRAPLOID RYEGRASSES

A normal (diploid) ryegrass has 14 chromosomes in each cell. A chromosome is the part of the cell that carries all the genetic information about the organism. By treating the cells in tissue culture with a natural chemical extracted from the autumn crocus (called colchicine) the number of chromosomes is doubled to 28. This effectively doubles the size of the cells (increased sugary contents) creating a tetraploid.

PALATABILITY & DIGESTABILITY

Livestock find the wide leaves and larger cell content (containing high concentrations of sugars) of tetraploids very palatable. This leads to higher intake resulting in more meat or milk. Overall, the digestibility of tetraploids is much better than most diploids meaning that more of the ingested material is converted to improve animal performance.

DROUGHT TOLERANCE

The deep root systems, larger cells and wider leaves all combine to ensure greater resistance to drought than most diploid varieties. The larger seeds of tetraploids also mean that if a drought occurs during the establishment phase, the seeds carry greater water and nutrient resources than diploids, thus increasing their chances of survival.

RAPID ESTABLISHMENT

On average tetraploid ryegrass seeds are 30-50% larger than diploid ryegrass. This results in improved seedling vigour, increased competitiveness (especially useful when over-seeding) and faster establishment, which can lead to earlier utilisation.

HIGHER SUMMER PRODUCTION

The deep, fibrous root system of tetraploid ryegrass enables them to find water and nutrients that lie deep in the soil, prolonging production during the drier summer months.

PERSISTENCY AND WINTER HARDINESS

Newer varieties of tetraploids exhibit much better winter hardiness ratings than previously, and recently bred tetraploids are much improved in ground cover. Together these characteristics substantially increase the longevity of a sward

CUTTING

The sturdy tetraploids stand-up well to the cutter-bar. The higher sugar content provides food for the bacteria in the clamp and aid the fermentation process to produce high quality silage.

OVERSEEDING AND PASTURE RENOVATION

The larger seeded and more vigorous tetraploids have that competitive edge when it comes to pasture renovation. Rapid establishment and the ability to out-compete weed grasses in the existing sward is vital. So always specify use tetraploids when renovating pastures.

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Billy Nimmo
M.D – Idealseed
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