30 Years of Barcrown
Grass breeders spend their working lives looking for incremental improvements to existing species and varieties. For example, it is estimated that “wear tolerance” in perennial ryegrass was subject to a ~5% improvement per decade in the European turfgrass market over a thirty-year period 1974-2004 (Sampoux et al., Grass and Forage Science, 2012).
Occasionally though, their efforts are rewarded with astonishing breakthroughs – a perfect combination of genes, a fluke of nature, a mindblowing alchemy of science and luck. In the 1970s, almost 50 years ago(!), the stars aligned in a small field in Wolfheze, Holland and the slender creeping red fescue (Festcua rubra trichophylla) Barcrown was born. Or rather, “BAR FRT 8250” as it was known back then.
Two New Varieties Are Crowned
Once again, the breeding team at Wolfheze have delivered another step forward in fescue breeding. 2024 will see the introduction of the latest varieties of slender creeping red fescue, Barnoustie and Barquess.
Commenting on the launch of Barnoustie and Barquess, Amenity Commercial Manager Dr David Greenshields commented, “Barcrown changed the market of fescue breeding when it developed in the 1980’s, it was such a huge step forward that it set the standard for the next 30 years. This is something almost unheard of in plant breeding. The launch of these varieties is a great advancement. Fescue golf continues to have a growing demand as many clubs push for sustainability through low input, traditional grass species. It is great to be in a position where we our breeding programmes are delivering varieties to help achieve this.”
Unique Qualities – A Competitive Advantage
Barnoustie and Barquess are both leading varieties for Shoot Density and Visual Merit, as well as scoring very high for resistance to Red Thread. They are, however, from very different genetic backgrounds, and should therefore complement each other well in mixtures. Barnoustie is mid-green in colour with strong autumn growth, in a similar vein to Barcrown. Barquess is very pale and exhibits exceptionally aggressive early-season growth for a slender; this has been illustrated in pre-market Scottish trials. The resulting season-long aggressive growth should give overseeded plants a competitive advantage within the sward.
Barnoustie and Barquess are available exclusively in the Barenbrug Sport Range in 2024. They will feature in both Fescue and SGT Fine Fescue mixtures. For more details please contact your Barenbrug distributor or your Barenbrug representative.
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