New grass species could help reduce the likelihood of flooding
Story supplied by LU Press Office
Scientists at the Lancaster Environment Centre have shown that a grass hybrid species can help reduce the impact of flooding.
Professor Phil Haygarth and Professor Andrew Binley are part of a collaboration of scientists who have investigated the use of hybridised forage grass to combine fast root growth and efficient soil water capture.
Field experiments show Festulolium cultivar reduces water runoff by up to 51 per cent against nationally-recommended cultivar and there is the potential for the new hybrid to capture more water and reduce runoff and likelihood of flood generation.
Professor Haygarth explained : "We think the reduced runoff is achieved because Festulolium's intense initial root growth and subsequent rapid turn-over, especially at depth, allows more water to be captured within the soil".
"The grass also provides high quality forage with resilience to weather extremes, making the grass doubly useful to farmers. "
Professor Binley added: "Our findings were achieved through an experimental program linking across a huge range of scales - from molecular to field. The results have implications for water management at even larger scales."
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded scientists, from Lancaster, Rothamsted Research, the James Hutton Institute, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University and the University of Nottingham, used a hybridised species of grass called perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) with a closely related species called meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis).
They hoped to integrate the rapid establishment and growth rate of the ryegrass with the large, well developed root systems and efficient water capture of the meadow fescue.
Over two years of field experiments in the south west the team demonstrated that the hybrid, named Festulolium, reduced water runoff from agricultural grassland by up to 51 per cent compared to a leading UK nationally-recommended perennial ryegrass cultivar and by 43 per cent compared to meadow fescue.
Thu 25 April 2013
'Motorsport Engineering: Fabulous or Frivolous?'
Mon 26 January 2015
In this report we provide some case studies of our work with external partners during 2013-2014. Read about R&D opportunities with China, new science and technology start-up companies, research with IBM, Booths and regional Small and Medium Enterprises, seed funding for new products and processes, new facilities for hire, free events and training, new companies on campus, plugging the data science skills gap, the Engineering Design Academy, and much more...
Tue 20 January 2015
The Faculty is pleased to announce that Professor Peter M Atkinson has been appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology.
Mon 05 January 2015
Police and intelligence agencies around the world have for almost 100 years relied on lie-detectors to help convict criminals or unearth spies and traitors.
Mon 05 January 2015