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Published
8 .Dec.2020

How new grass varieties help farmers, landscapers, and groundsmen beat climate change

Climate change is making drought, especially spring drought, a more frequent event in northern Europe. Our range of drought-tolerant varieties has been tested widely, including at the world-leading RadiMax facility. These are the varieties that will help forage producers and turf managers protect their businesses in a changing world.

Root science helps you minimise the effects of drought

Drought is one of the greatest challenges facing future crop production. Forage producers and turf managers need plants that perform better in a changing world – plants that are more durable and better at acquiring vital nutrients in tough conditions.

Species bred for the climate of northern Europe are not well adapted for drought because drought has, in the past, never been a big issue. But things are changing. Spring droughts are becoming ever more frequent, which means we need grass varieties better suited to drier conditions. At the RadiMax facility we test grass varieties to see which ones are better at dealing with climatic and environmental challenges such as drought.

High-performance roots give end users an advantage

The secret to beating drought lies in the roots of plants. Following many years of research, we can now apply our extensive knowledge of grass root-architecture to the problems forage producers and turf managers face. We can help you future-proof your business by securing your forage production or maintaining the visual appearance of your turf.

PLUS grasses are drought-tolerant

Grasses with a deep root mass are better able to maintain reliable and consistent forage production. Their nutrient uptake is more efficient, they are better at carbon sequestration, and they improve your soil structure.

Our two festulolium types, Ryegrass PLUS and Tall Fescue PLUS, are excellent choices for withstanding drought. Ryegrass PLUS has the same quick root growth as ryegrass, but its root mass grows deeper, which makes it more drought tolerant. Tall fescue PLUS has the same root mass as Tall Fescue, but provides better spring and summer forage quality.

Choose 4turf® for a stronger, more drought-tolerant playing field

Grasses with a fast root growth have a strong foundation. They give you more playing hours, a better visual appearance, and improved carbon sequestration. They also save you money because they need less irrigation. Our 4turf® varieties are good examples. They are proven to be drought-tolerant as a result of their fast root growth and extensive root mass.

Minimise the risk of drought impact

To reduce the risks associated with drought, choose varieties with strong root performance and/or better above-ground drought-coping mechanisms. Better regrowth after a spring drought, for example, reduces the impact on yields or on turf performance. Drought-tolerant varieties are a time-saver too. As the season progresses, you waste far less time finding ways to fix drought-related damage.

By choosing drought-tolerant varieties or mixtures for your local conditions and your risk-management strategy, you are better prepared for a potential drought. Circumstances vary, but every drought-tolerant variety has its own set of natural mechanisms for coping with a lack of water. During a spring drought, for example, water is still available at deeper soil layers. That's when a plant needs its drought-tolerance to come from below: it needs a deep root mass. But when a spring drought extends into summer, those deeper soil layers also dry out.  Now the plant needs an above-ground drought-tolerance to maintain its growth.

Speak to the drought-survival experts

Our expertise in drought-tolerance helps countless forage producers and turf managers withstand a changing climate. If you would like advice on the varieties that would suit your local needs, speak to your nearest DLF representative.