Changes in estimated value of perennial ryegrass cultivar/ endophyte combinations in the DairyNZ Forage Value Index when metabolisable energy contents specific to culitvar groups are included
Further development of the DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI) requires accounting for genetic variation in the nutritive value of ryegrass herbage in addition to the current weightings on dry matter production traits. Performance values for metabolisable energy content (PV ME) have been identified as the most appropriate variables to use for this purpose. In this study an assessment was made of the effect of including cultivar group (mid-heading date diploid, late-heading date diploid and tetraploid) PV ME in FVI ranking calculations of eligible perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) cultivars. Incorporation of the seasonal ME trait into the FVI has resulted in changes in rankings of those cultivars. Although correlations were strong (0.74 for Upper South Island to 0.92 for Upper North Island) between rankings of cultivars using the current FVI and the FVI with cultivar group PV ME, marked improvements have been made in the rankings of tetraploid cultivars. On-farm persistence implications (not yet included in the FVI) of selecting tetraploid cultivars will need to be included if the ME trait is included in the FVI.
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