Barenbrug

Grass, the world’s most important crop

The grass family, or Graminae, has about 8,000 varieties. Scientists all over the world are working on research, improvement, breeding and cultivation of this very important crop.

 

Grass has several functions. We cannot digest it and yet it is one of the most important resources for our food production: animals eat grass and we eat animal products such as meat, eggs and milk. Furthermore, we also use grass in other ways: for sport, recreation and to brighten up gardens and public spaces. This plant also has important ecological functions: it protects against soil erosion, it absorbs water, it purifies the air we breathe and so on.

 

Feeding nine billion people

Grass is the main building block for nutritious dairy products: it is the cheapest source of milk protein. Grass that is developed from just the right balance of genetics and technology makes for a healthy cow that gives the very best possible milk. A higher production of both crude proteins per hectare and milk protein per cow is going to be needed so that the available agricultural land can be efficiently used to meet the increasing demand for dairy products. When grass does not contain enough nutrients, cows are often given food supplements such as soya. These products cost a lot more than grass, leading to higher production costs and more expensive milk. Reason enough to ensure that grass contains all the necessary nutrients so that cows don’t need to be given expensive forage to supplement their diet.

 

Economically viable and sustainable grass

Grass is essentially a sustainable plant. Thanks to its ability to store large quantities of carbon in the soil, it helps to reduce the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. The blending of different types and varieties has led to a varied plant population which can stand up to all kinds of extremities. A lot can be done to ensure the sustainable use and maintenance of grass. To this end, Barenbrug Research has invested in the current global topics of water savings and reducing the need for mowing.