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A novel grass hybrid to reduce flood generation in temperate regions

Macleod, Christopher J. A.; Humphreys, Mike W.; Whalley, W. Richard; Turner, Lesley; Binley, Andrew; Watts, Chris W.; Skøt, Leif; Joynes, Adrian; Hawkins, Sarah; King, Ian P.; O'Donovan, Sally; Haygarth, Phil M.


Christopher J. A. Macleod

Mike W. Humphreys

W. Richard Whalley

Lesley Turner

Andrew Binley

Chris W. Watts

Leif Skøt

Adrian Joynes

Sarah Hawkins

Sally O'Donovan

Phil M. Haygarth


We report on the evaluation of a novel grass hybrid that provides efficient forage production and could help mitigate flooding. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is the grass species of choice for most farmers, but lacks resilience against extremes of climate. We hybridised L. perenne onto a closely related and more stress-resistant grass species, meadow fescue Festuca pratensis. We demonstrate that the L. perenne × F. pratensis cultivar can reduce runoff during the events by 51% compared to a leading UK nationally recommended L. perenne cultivar and by 43% compared to F. pratensis over a two year field experiment. We present evidence that the reduced runoff from this Festulolium cultivar was due to intense initial root growth followed by rapid senescence, especially at depth. Hybrid grasses of this type show potential for reducing the likelihood of flooding, whilst providing food production under conditions of changing climate.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 25, 2013
Journal Scientific Reports
Print ISSN 2045-2322
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Issue 1
Article Number 1683
Pages 1-7
APA6 Citation Macleod, C. J. A., Humphreys, M. W., Whalley, W. R., Turner, L., Binley, A., Watts, C. W., …Haygarth, P. M. (2013). A novel grass hybrid to reduce flood generation in temperate regions.
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