In 2013, six new tetraploid varieties of early (Arcturus, Algira and Salmo) and late (Allodia, Vidalia and Soraya) perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) from the Agroscope breeding programme were admitted onto the Swiss List of Recommended Varieties for forage plants. The lineage of the three early varieties goes directly back to diploid Swiss ecotype material which was converted to the tetraploid state in the 1990s. To develop the late varieties, the new tetraploid ecotype material was then additionally crossed with late tetraploid varieties. Compared to the standard breeds, some of the new breeds exhibited a significant increase in initial development and in yield level, with digestibility and resistance to crown rust (Puccinia coronata f. sp. lolii) and leaf-spot diseases (Drechslera spp.) also being increased in the late range. The strategy of breeding diploid material to the point of potential varietal maturity and then converting it to the tetraploid state was shown to be a highly promising way of developing new tetraploid varieties quickly.
Six new Swiss-bred varieties of perennial ryegrass