8 March 2013
Survey Reveals Huge Pasture Investment
In the past four years New Zealand farmers have sown enough new proprietary pasture seed to cover more than 1.5 million
ha of land, new data shows.
“That’s the equivalent of just over 6600 average sized dairy farms,” says Thomas Chin, general manager of the New
Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association (NZPBRA).
Based on tonnages of seed sold for the four years ending 31 December 2012, the data is a NZ first and reveals the
‘colossal’ potential and effect of proprietary plant varieties on NZ farms.
“What this clearly shows is that farmers are using well-bred, well researched, proven plant genetics to get the best out
of their land, and their animals,” Chin says.
“It’s good news for the plant breeders who invest heavily in developing new pastures every year and it’s good news for
NZ as a whole.”
The sales data covers proprietary ryegrass, clover, cocksfoot, tall fescue and lucerne seed and comes from NZPBRA member
Chin says while specialist pasture options like fescue and lucerne have a solid market, proprietary ryegrass and white
clover remain by far the most planted species on NZ farms.
Over 7300 tonnes of perennial, hybrid, Italian and annual ryegrass seed was sold last year alone, with nearly 650 tonnes
of clover seed.
Tall fescue totalled 217 tonnes, and lucerne 115 tonnes.
Since 2009, total proprietary ryegrass seed sales have exceeded 29,300 tonnes which at an average sowing rate of 20
kg/ha is enough to cover just over 1.4 million ha, Chin says.
“Lucerne and fescue seed sales over the same period take that total to approximately 1.53 million ha.
“Whichever way you look at it, there’s nothing like the vigor of new seed and good feed for millions of head of
Annually, the New Zealand seed industry produces around 115,000 tonnes of crops on 30,000 hectares. Total sales are
estimated to be worth $450 million. Around 3,200 New Zealanders are employed in the industry and $20 million is spent on
R every year.