28 .Jan.2016

New DLF grass breeder to deliver perennial ryegrasses for UK farmers

DLF has appointed Joanna Halliwell as UK Perennial Ryegrass Breeder. She will be based at our trials centre at Didbrook, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.

Miss Halliwell studied Biological Sciences at the University of Birmingham, including a year spent in Germany. After successfully completing an MSc in Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement at the University of East Anglia and the John Innes Institute, she joined RAGT Seeds, just outside Cambridge as a wheat breeder.

“I really enjoy biological sciences and find plant breeding fascinating,” says Miss Halliwell. “Becoming the UK grass breeder for DLF, the largest grass seed company in the world, is an incredibly exciting opportunity.”

This new role for DLF comes as a result of the expansion of the UK-specific breeding programme – to breed and select new perennial ryegrass varieties particularly suited to UK conditions.

Miss Halliwell will be managing two plant nurseries, one at and one at Waterford in Ireland. She will be in charge of all fieldwork, breeding and selecting the ones to take forward as possible recommended varieties of the future.

“Breeding is a long process – taking more than 10 years from the first cross, so it will be a while before any of Joanna’s own selections make it onto farm, but in the mean time she will be engaged in selecting and testing the present material tailored for the UK.” explains Tony Strickland, UK Technical Manager for DLF. “But the expansion of our UK grass breeding programme and Joanna’s appointment as our dedicated perennial ryegrass breeder, is a sure sign of DLF’s investment and commitment to the UK market for many years to come.”