Title : NOVA GRASS - symbiotically modified perennial ryegrass– an innovative protection of grasses
The perspective of limiting the use of plant protection products by 2030, resulting from the principles of the European Green Deal, imposes certain restrictions on agricultural producers. In this situation, an opportunity for agriculture is to use the achievements of science and support the broadly understood cooperation between Science and Business for the fastest possible implementation of new, innovative solutions that support sustainable, environmentally safe agricultural production. Dedicated financial resources are launched for this type of activity. In Poland, a very good example of activities of this nature is Action M16 "Cooperation" coordinated by the Agency for Restructuring and Modernization of Agriculture under the Rural Development Program for 2014-2020. The aim of this action is "to support the creation and operation of operational groups for innovation (EPI) and the implementation by these groups of projects the subject of which is the development and implementation of innovation" in the broadly understood area of agriculture and food production and distribution, for sustainable rural development and agricultural production. An example of a project qualified for financing under this Action is the project "Introduction to the market of an innovative variety of perennial ryegrass inhabited by symbiotic endophytic fungi". The project is carried out by the EPI consortium under the name NOVA GRASS. The consortium consists of: Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology (Leader), The Plant Breeding Company Grunwald Ltd., Group IHAR based in Mielno, Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute - National Research Institute in Radzików, Kuyavian–Pomeranian Agricultural Advisory Centre in Minikowo and an individual agricultural producer. The result of the implementation of the above-mentioned project will be product, technological and marketing innovation for sustainable agriculture. The specific objectives of the operation are: a) to create an innovative variety of perennial ryegrass inhabited by symbiotic endophytic fungi of the Epichloë genus, b) to develop an innovative technology for the production of grass varieties symbiotically improved with endophytes, c) to develop and implement a significantly improved, innovative marketing strategy for the promotion and dissemination of cultivation and commercialization of innovative varieties of perennial ryegrass.
Due to the presence of selected endophytes in plants, the inhabited grasses will be characterized by higher durability and better growth, higher resistance to water shortages and tolerance to soil salinity, better use of nutrients, higher resistance to infection by pathogenic microorganisms, as well as lower susceptibility to damage caused by insects and nematodes. This will allow producers to be more flexible and comfortable in production in the absence of optimal conditions for plant growth, especially in conditions of uneven distribution of rainfall and water shortages.