Recently, the UF/IFAS forage breeding program has focused on improving annual ryegrass, red and white clover and alfalfa, rhizoma perennial peanut, bermudagrass, and bahiagrass. Today, more than 30,000 acres of perennial peanut have been established from UF/IFAS cultivar releases throughout the southern U.S.Traditional breeding (as well as modern molecular genetic DNA-sequencing techniques) are being employed to improve the efficiency of these breeding programs.
Currently, 12 tetraploid apomictic hybrids are being evaluated for seed production, with the goal of releasing a new tetraploid bahiagrass cultivar that has superior spring and fall forage production to replace the cultivar ‘Argentine’. Recent clover releases that are becoming popular commercially include ‘Barduro’ (a mediummaturity red clover), 'FL24D' (an early maturity 2,4-D tolerant red clover), and ‘Ocoee’ (a root knot nematode-resistant white clover).
Earlyploid, 'FL PE 2X', and 'FL Red 4X LATE' are three recent annual ryegrass releases. ‘Kenhy’ and ‘GibTuck’ limpograss cultivars are becoming established on significant Florida acreage for use by the beef-cattle industry. Foragetype triticale and oat cultivars have also been released from these programs and have been widely grown throughout the southeastern U.S. for winter grazing and silage. Current efforts on final testing of a new Florida-adapted alfalfa and a new early-season, high-quality bermudagrass are ongoing in the UF/IFAS forage breeding program.