Tabu legend lives on with new Italian

30 January 2018

The new Italian ryegrass from Agriseeds, Tabu+, is only just available but has already achieved a unique position in the DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI).

The latest FVI rankings, released 1 February, show Tabu+ is the only five-star ryegrass for a six to eight month winter feed. Agriseeds pasture systems manager Will Henson says this is exciting news for farmers who want to maximise the profitability of their pastures. You can find out exactly how much more Tabu+ is worth in terms of the extra feed it provides by using Agriseeds’ new calculator with your Farm Source Technical Sales Rep or online (

“The calculator allows farmers to compare different short-term pasture options using the latest FVI values. It’s a fast and simple tool that shows what you really get when you sow Tabu+ versus other cultivars,” says Will. This new ryegrass features faster establishment speed than its predecessor and significantly more winter growth, Will says.

Tabu+ also has five per cent more total dry matter (DM) yield than Tabu which was already one of the highest-yielding Italian ryegrass cultivars in the market. Courtney Inch, who heads the Agriseeds plant breeding team, says the new cultivar continues a strong legacy built on well-adapted New Zealand pasture genetics. The same ryegrass genetics gave rise first to Flanker, then Tabu and now Tabu+. “Nature has provided something special with that original plant material,” Inch says. “It’s a unique source of adapted plant genetics that has provided the basis for these high-performing cultivars.”

Tabu’s reign as the market-leading Italian has been uncommonly long and successful. It marked a step-change in establishment speed, winter yield and overall yield at the time it was launched 17 years and many thousands of tonnes of seed ago.

Up until now nothing has been able to better it, although nearly new 20 Italian ryegrass cultivars have become available in that time. While Tabu was a big advance, behind the scenes Agriseeds has been looking for its replacement for some time.

“We are always trying to improve on our best cultivars,” Courtney says, “but the nature of plant breeding is that finding the next best thing is not always a straightforward process. We had to find something that was significantly better and, the fact is, Tabu has been hard to beat.” Will says, when it comes to Italian ryegrasses, establishment speed is king.

“The biggest gain with Tabu+ over Tabu is in growth from sowing to the end of September. We focused on this because farmers kept telling us they want fast feed. Cool season growth is particularly valuable in dairy farm systems.”

If Tabu+ sounds like a winner for your system, contact your Farm Source team today to find out more.

Article supplied by Agriseeds