Ryegrass the Largest Proprietary Pasture Seed Crop

News Release – 12 February 2021

Ryegrass the Largest Proprietary Pasture Seed Crop                                 

Calendar year 2020 sales figures from the Plant Breeding and Research Association (PBRA) shows over 10,700 tonnes of branded proprietary pasture seed was sold to farmers, up 21% on 2015. This was the strongest sales year on record.

Proprietary seed, which comes with built-in technological advances to increase performance, is increasingly recognised as the one of the best investment farmers can make in their land says Association president David Green.

“This is the highest quality seed you can buy. As well as its advanced performance attributes, it’s certified, which means it has been grown under regulatory supervision, has passed inspection for purity and germination, and is fully traceable.”

The current market for forage seeds shows ryegrass and clover dominates the category.

Most of this seed is produced by specialist growers in the Canterbury region. Certified ryegrass and clover seed was grown on around 29,000 hectares.

Different ryegrass types comprise 81% of grass seed sales by volume. Red and white clover comprises 9% of the legume sales by volume.

Mr Green says NZ pasture seed development is underpinned by intensive and local private breeding programs.

And breeders are focused on delivering new locally adapted seed genetics and desirable traits for our pastoral farmers.

Seed breeding and development can take up to a decade and cost up to $1million before a new cultivar is ready for the commercial market.

“There are many variables with seed selection and proprietary seed is genetically superior to older public domain varieties and the degenerating quality of farm saved or farm traded seed; the latter is of course illegal under the Plant Variety Rights Act.

Mr Green said that the forage genetics and seed technologies farmers use is more important than ever and proprietary seed is reliable and high performing for long-term success.

For further information, please contact:

Thomas Chin, General Manager, NZPBRA

Ph 021 679 989

Thomas.chin@seedindustrynz.co.nz