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Grazing and ensiling of energy-rich grasses with elevated sugar contents for the sustainable production of ruminant livestock (SweetGrass)

Contract nr: QLK5-CT-1999-30498
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date: 01-03-2001
Duration: 54 months
Total cost: 2,758,032 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,680,000 EUR
Scientific Officer: Michel VAN DEN BOSSCHE
Research topic: 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Plant Systems

Abstract:
The project aims to provide a sound scientific basis for using novel grasses, bred for high sugar content, using conventional breeding methods, in grassland-based agriculture. At certain times of the year, these grasses contain up to 400 g sugar kg-¹. We propose to use these grasses, both grazed and ensiled, on their own, and in combination with protein-rich legumes, to improve the efficiency of ruminant production in sustainable livestock systems. The regional focus in northern Europe is the less-favoured rural, upland and alpine districts where high-energy forages such as forage maize cannot be grown. Preliminary work has shown that, throughout the year, grasses bred for elevated sugar content contain more sugar than the conventional varieties currently used in ruminant agriculture and that when used as feed, significant production responses and environmental benefits are achievable.


Coordinator
Michael K. THEODOROU
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research
Aberystwyth
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1970 823 070
Fax: +44 1970 828 357
E-mail: mike.theodorou@bbsrc.ac.uki


Partners
  Padraig O’KIELY
Grange Research Centre, TEAGASC
Co. Meath
IRELAND
Tel.: +353 46 25214
Fax: +353 46 26154
E-mail: pokiely@grange.teagasc.ie
  Jan BERTILSSON
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Uppsala
SWEDEN
Tel.: +46 18 671 429
Fax: +46 18 672 909
E-mail: jan.bertilsson@huv.slu.se
  Christian PAUL
Institute of Crop and Grassland Science, Federal Agricultural Research Centre
Braunschweig
GERMANY
Tel.: +49 531 596 381
Fax: +49 531 596 320
E-mail: christian.paul@fal.de
  Lars NESHEIM
The Norwegian Crop Research Institute
Stjoerdal
NORWAY
Tel.: +47 74 829 360
Fax: +47 74 829 361
E-mail: lars.nesheim@planteforsk.no