Developing a new grass variety takes some doing. Barenbrug has an intensive research & development programme for analysing the characteristics of varieties and doing research to find optimum seed mixtures for the most diverse conditions.
The breeding programme begins with creating genetic variation. Every year, Barenbrug’s researchers evaluate various characteristics of many thousands of plants, such as winter hardiness, disease resistance, susceptibility to drought, etc. In special controlled-climate chambers certain diseases are simulated to test the plants’ resistance to them. Seed is then harvested on a small scale from the plants that survive the severe tests.
That seed is used for extensive trials in Barenbrug’s trial fields. The trials last three years and are carried out on an ever larger scale. If a variety appears to be suitable for practical use at the end of that trial cycle it is reported for official testing by the authorities responsible for the national lists of varieties throughout Europe. Those authorities then investigate the variety for another three years, after which they compare it with the varieties of the existing range to determine whether or not it will be included in the official list of varieties. By that time fifteen years have passed since the first cross-breeding.