Viscount is a great performing tetraploid perennial Ryegrass. Compared to other cultivars, it has significant early spring growth and overall total yield. Viscount provides early spring growth during calving and lambing when feed is at its most valuable. This cultivar also has improved rust resistance and summer feed quality. Stock will prefer Viscount due to the excellent palatability characteristic of a tetraploid. The cultivar is treated with NEA4 Endophytem, providing superior animal performance with a low risk of animal health problems such as ryegrass staggers.
Intensification of farming systems relies on ryegrasses that can produce bulk, high-quality feed to accelerate animal production and performance. Tetraploid cultivars are a significant tool farmers can employ to help achieve these goals. Tetraploid plants have four sets of chromosomes per cell (versus a diploid with two). This makes tetraploid ryegrasses more palatable for livestock. The extra chromosome results in a bigger cell size and a higher ratio of cell content (soluble carbohydrates) to cell walls (fibre). Tetraploids are therefore naturally high in soluble carbohydrates (sugars).
Livestock will preferentially graze tetraploid over diploid grasses if given a choice and tend to graze them more quickly and evenly. The higher dry matter intake on these grasses results in improved animal performance. Furthermore, they are compatible with clover; their open and erect growth form promotes clover growth. The feed quality also improves silage quality.
A consideration of tetraploid grasses is that they require careful management as they are prone to overgrazing and susceptible to pugging in wet conditions and less resilient to drought.