Novel crops, whether produced by conventional breeding or genetic modification, can have many benefits such as increased yield and reduction of inputs.
One aspect of these crops that is little studied is their potential to alter the carbon allocation below-ground.
One novel crop being studied at Aberystwyth is the natural hybridisation of ryegrass and fescue (Festulolium). This crop has the potential to combine the forage quality of ryegrass with the better resource use of fescue species.
Hybrids that are more efficient in terms of resource use may also have an impact on below-ground carbon due to larger and deeper rooting systems.
SEREN will evaluate existing cultivars for their carbon sequestration ability and their suitability for grassland agriculture in Wales. This in turn will allow scientists to determine the potential for such crops to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture in Wales.