Improved drought-resistance protects agricultural profits
During hot, dry summers valuable grassland loses its lush green colour. The longer the drought, the more brown the grass becomes. Week by week, the grass additionally loses biomass, and dry-matter yields decline. Europe’s increasingly frequent spring and summer droughts are creating more forage gaps that reduce agricultural profits
Climate change makes dry periods more likely
Since no one can predict the weather for the year ahead, there will always be uncertainty for farmers and for the forage grasses they grow
But things are changing. In recent years (2018, 2019 and 2020), drought has been a more frequent problem across many regions of Europe. You can see a snapshot of the extent of the 2018 drought below. The image is from the European Commission's Combined Drought Indicator for a ten-day period during August of that year. The lack of rainfall affected Germany, The Netherlands, Southern Europe, and even the UK and Scandinavia.
Combined Drought Indicator for the second ten-day period of August 2018 (Source: European Commission, 2021)
Research proves that PLUS-grasses are more drought-tolerant
DLF’s goal is to bring drought-tolerant grass varieties to the market to secure forage yields
DLF – together with Copenhagen University – is researching the root architecture of turf and forage grass varieties at the RadiMax facility
RadiMax is the world’s most advanced root-screening facility. It lets researchers capture images of growing roots down to a depth of 3.0 m. At the same time, the plants can be exposed to increasing degrees of drought through a controlled soil-moisture gradient. Researchers can see how different grasses perform during a drought, and directly relate their performance to their root architecture.