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Understanding the 2019 Pasture Profit Index

The 2019 Pasture Profit Index (PPI) released last week by Teagasc, is an extremely useful tool for grassland farmers, as it ranks grass varieties in economic terms. Each variety is valued on its overall contribution to net profit per hectare and is made up of key traits which drive profit.

The 2019 Pasture Profit Index (PPI) released last week by Teagasc, is an extremely useful tool for grassland farmers, as it ranks grass varieties in economic terms. Each variety is valued on its overall contribution to net profit per hectare and is made up of key traits which drive profit.

Grass Evaluation Trials

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) produce a Recommended List of grass varieties which have been tried and tested in Ireland. Teagasc then produce the PPI, which ranks varieties on the Recommended List in economic terms.

Each variety is evaluated over a minimum of 2 sowing years and 2 harvest years. There are 5 trial sites across the country, with each variety sown at each site.

How the Pasture Profit Index is determined

The PPI uses a model to determine the economic value of each of the key traits in grass production terms; spring, summer and autumn DM yield, quality, silage DM yield (based on 1st and 2nd cut yields) and persistency. The economic value for each trait is applied to the measured performance of a variety in the Recommended List trials and the sum of all the values then determines the total PPI value of a variety in € per ha/year.

Seasonal DM Yield: Reported as spring, summer and autumn DM yield in the PPI, this information presents the yield performance of each variety across these three time periods. Extra grass in the spring is of highest value in the index, followed by autumn, with extra grass grown in the mid–season period being of the lowest value. The difference between the best and worst variety for spring growth is €125 per ha/year. Compared to summer growth, the difference between the best and worst is only €31 per ha/year, and in autumn the difference is €55 per ha/year.

Quality: Quality is measured across the months of April, May, June and July. AberGain is the highest variety overall for quality. The range in quality in the PPI is from €56 per ha/year to the lowest variety for quality at –€38; a difference of €94 per ha/year. Quality is a hugely important trait, which has the potential to deliver big differences at farm level.

Persistency: In the PPI, €0 indicates a persistent variety which is expected to last 12 years or longer under good management. The worst varieties in the 2019 PPI for persistency have values of –€11 per ha/year, indicating that they are expected to last 10 years at farm level. The small variation between the best and worst varieties for persistency in the PPI demonstrate that there are small differences between varieties in persistency terms. Soil fertility and management are the biggest influencers of sward persistency.

Highest performing grass varieties

The highest ranked variety overall for 2019 is AberGain, a late tetraploid with a total PPI value of €214 per ha/year. AberGain is a proven variety on Irish farms, with excellent seasonal and total growth and has the highest quality of all varieties on the PPI.

AberChoice is the leading late diploid, at €189 per ha/year. AberChoice and Drumbo are the only 2 late diploids with positive values for quality, a proven indicator of palatability and high grass utilisation.

AberClyde is the leading intermediate tetraploid (€205 per ha/year) with excellent seasonal yields and quality values. AberMagic is yet again the leading intermediate diploid, at €197 per ha per year.

Choosing varieties with positive values for quality will help ensure you have a palatable mixture, which will support higher animal intakes and animal performance. Varieties with good spring and autumn growth are also desirable to increase grass availability at these key points in your grazing season.

Teagasc Pasture Profit Index 2019 – Varieties highlighted in green are Germinal varieties.



Intermediate Tetraploids

 

Intermediate Diploids

 

Late- Tetraploids

 

Late Diploids

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