Festulolium is the name for a hybrid forage grass developed by crossing Meadow Fescue (Festuca pratense) or Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea) with perennial ryegrass
(Lolium perenne) or Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum).
This enables combining the best properties of the two types of grass and it is important to know that each of these grasses has its own characteristics and should not always be compared to each other.
The fescues contribute qualities such as high dry matter yield, resistance to cold, drought tolerance and persistence, while ryegrass is contributes with rapid establishment,
good spring growth, good digestibility, sugar content and palatability. The individual festulolium varieties contain various combinations of these qualities, but all are substantially better yielding than their parent lines.
While festuloliums have been around for many years, the true potential had never been pursued in earnest but its about to change.
DLF has developed a substantial breeding program in hybrid festulolium that has produced a unique range of hybrid festulolium varieties. After initial hybridization and subsequent selection on the hybrid progeny or backcrossing the hybrid progeny to its parental lines, a wide range of varieties with varying characteristics and phenotypes has been created.
They are classified according to their degree of phenotypical similarity to the original parents, not to their genotype heritage. One can regard them as high yielding fescues with improved forage quality or as high yielding, more persistent ryegrasses.
Festulolium are high preforming forage grasses and as these grasses are developed by crossing crossing Meadow Fescue (Festuca pratense) or Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea) with perennial ryegrass
(Lolium perenne) or Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and combining the best from each grass species it be referred to as multipurpose grasses.
Each festulolium grass has its own characteristic they differ alot from each other and each grass has its own attibutes and can be used for different puposes.
Looking at forage quality it will seem at first sight as festulolium has a lower quality than ryegrass and this might the case for some types of festulolium grasses, but for other festulolium grasses the forage quality will be above the level of the parental material.
Forage quality is in general very high for festulolium grasses.
Festulolium grasses with morphological appearance as italian ryegrass, perennial ryegrass or hybrid ryegrasses do in many cases have a slightly lower relative forage quality index and relative forage value than ryegrass, but there is an interesting exception with the tall fescue-type festulolium Fojtan.