New Grass Endophyte to be Released

Canterbury pasture plant breeding company Cropmark Seeds Ltd recently announced the release of a new endophyte GrubOUT® U2 a major advance in the fight against a multi-million dollar farming problem – insect pests.

Luisetti Seeds and Stapletons representatives visited a trial site at Darfield recently and we saw first hand the potential that Cropmark’s new endophyte could have on a farm.

The trial, which consisted of a wide range of different grass and endophyte combinations, had been the subject of severe grass grub attack with up to 500 larvae per square metre.

The grass grub had caused significant damage to the grasses with other endophytes with severe plant pulling and plant death, whereas the GrubOUT® U2 containing grasses appeared unaffected.

It is not often you get to see such dramatic examples of the efficacy of a product in the field.


GrubOUT® U2 in the foreground showing outstanding resistance to grass grub attack, copmared to other endophyte-containing perennial ryegrass in the background

With grass grub having the potential to decimate pastures in Canterbury, Cropmark’s GrubOUT® U2 endophyte will provide farmers with a valuable tool in their fight against this serious insect pest.

Typical Grass Grub damage in a Canterbury Pasture

Typical Grass Grub damage in a Canterbury Pasture

The endophyte GrubOUT® U2 acts above and below the ground, giving host grasses greater persistence against insect attack – including grass grub, black beetle, porina caterpillar and Argentine stem weevil.

The key to this breakthrough is the phrase “below ground”.

Other endophytes in ryegrasses confer limited insect resistance, but not down in the root zone. Consequently they don’t protect against pests such as grass grub and black beetle larvae which are root feeding insects.

Damage to pastures from insect pests particularly grass grub are very significant, resulting in reduced pasture production, reduced pasture persistence, and increased costs of either control or renovation.

GrubOUT® U2 pastures on the other hand show significantly improved persistence under attack from these insects.

The secret to the success of the GrubOUT® U2 endophyte is the set of loline alkaloids they contain. In the right concentrations in the plant, lolines act as feeding deterrents – insects don’t like eating grasses containing lolines.

The lolines have no effect on animals, in fact grazing animals show marked preference for these GrubOUT® U2 containing grasses. Worldwide research indicates that lolines are safe to sheep, cattle and deer.

The first grass seed containing GrubOUT® U2 will be available following harvest in autumn next year in a ready-to-sow pre-mix “Barrier Combo™”.

Luisetti Seeds has been allocated some stock of this exciting new product which will be in limited supply next year. Please contact your Luisetti Seeds or Stapleton’s agent so that we can be sure to supply your requirements.