Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Our research on multi-species mixtures at British Grassland Society

The British Grassland Society's 13th Research Conference addressed 'Multi-species Swards' on 2-4 March 2021. Here are links to some of our contributions to the conference, including an invited presentation, a research presentation and a poster. 

Prof Caroline Brophy of Trinity College Dublin presented our collaborative work in an invited presentation. see the YouTube video of her presentation 'Species diversity in intensively managed grasslands can promote ecosystem multifunctionality and help protect against the impact of extreme weather events'. (24 min YouTube video)

Saoirse Cummins made a presentation 'An annual assessment of N2O emissions from multi-species grasslands', available as a 10-minute YouTube video. Key points are:
  • multi-species mixtures can act to reduce nitrous oxide emissions 
  • multi-species mixtures had a strong effect on emissions intensity of nitrous oxide
  • much lower nitrous oxide emissions from mixtures (150N) when compared against a higher-nitrogen perennial ryegrass monoculture (300N).  

Effects of plant diversity on yield and nitrogen use efficiency in intensively managed grasslands by Guylain Grange. This is available as a pdf poster presentation on the BGS website. Alternatively, it can be found here.  Key points are: 

  • Grassland diversity strongly influenced forage yield. 
  • Nitrogen use efficiency was driven by legume content. 
  • Diverse mixtures at 150N consistently out-yielded ryegrass monocultures at 300N.

Updated 8th March 2021. 


  1. Really interesting studies.Do all grass mixtures outperform monoculture, or are species dependent?

  2. In our study, once the mixture is not dominated (e.g 90%, which is a community very close to an apex) by one species, then the mixtures have strong ability to outperform even the best monoculture. This research will be published soon (early summer 2021) in J Applied Ecology, and will include further results related to this specific point.

  3. for persistency reasons mss is not grazed as low as prg, would this then cancel out all or some of the extra yield seen by mss?