Having spent many years improving yield and disease resistance, the main goal now is to improve feed value and digestibility of the fibre components. Developing ever higher yielding varieties may be counter-productive – especially in countries with strict limits on nitrogen use. The breeders at DLF are now focused on producing varieties of grass with improved forage quality, in particular those with high cell wall digestibility (DNDF).
Fibre is one of the main reasons for feeding grass to ruminants, but it can be indigestible and consequently locks up valuable nutrients. Research has shown that a 10% improvement in fibre digestibility can raise milk production by 6.4% and at the same time reduce nitrogen released into the environment by 4.9% therefore this is what we are aiming to achieve in the future.