Sowing the seeds for success – new report to guide pasture RD&E investment strategies


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Temperate pasture legumes have been embraced by Australian farmers because they are a nutritious feed for livestock and for their ability to add nitrogen to the soil. While livestock and grain producers reap the rewards, the lesser recognised pasture seed growers are the quiet achievers working in the background and sowing the seeds for these industries to flourish.

A new report,  the Assessment of size and scope of the certified temperate pasture seeds industry, funded by AgriFutures Pasture Seeds Program, has examined data from across various organisations to provide a better understanding of the size and scope of the pasture seeds industry within Australia.

According to Lisa Anderson, Chair of AgriFutures Pasture Seeds Program Advisory Panel anecdotally the Advisory Panel has known, and had an appreciation, for the size of the industry but this has been limited to variety by variety.

“We now have industry-wide data that has helped us to obtain a clearer picture of the industry’s size, scope, imports and our global exports over the last 10-20 years.”

“Until now our understanding of the industry has been very high level. We knew the farm gate value of the industry was $44 million in 2019-20 but did not have any understanding of the breakdown based on species or by state. We now have a more comprehensive picture of the industry, and will be able to make informed decisions about the Program’s research, development, and extension (RD&E) investments. And growers can capitalise on opportunities, particularly regarding state-based production, international markets, and our unique sub-clover seed.”

AgriFutures Pasture Seeds Program aims to improve seed production, processing efficiencies, and profitability of certified temperate pasture species, including medics, lucerne, serradella, sub-clover and clover.

The Advisory Panel, led by industry growers, researchers and experts, recommended the collation and analysis of the data to provide a better understanding of the Australian pasture seeds industry.

“This report will inform the Pasture Seeds Program and the Advisory Panel, to ensure our strategies for RD&E are targeted and reflective of the industry,” said Ms Anderson.

Research Program Manager, Annelies McGaw is excited by the report and the knowledge gained, particularly regarding global markets.

“The data provides us with beneficial information about the global export footprint of our pasture seeds industry. Our seeds are exported all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, the USA, Uruguay, Egypt, China and many other countries,” said Ms McGaw.

“Sub-clover seed production is a uniquely Australian industry; we’re the only country harvesting and exporting sub-clover seed; this report provides interesting insights into the export of sub-clover to countries like Portugal and Italy.”

The report not only provides insight into the export market but also provides data regarding state-based production.

“South Australia continues to be the largest producer of certified temperate pasture seeds, with seed production growing within Tasmania and Western Australia. However, each state typically grows different species. For example South Australia is the major growing region for lucerne, while white clover dominates in Tasmania,” commented Ms McGaw.

Ms McGaw believes that the data within this report will assist AgriFutures in targeting RD&E investments applicable to levy payers and influence grower practices by providing information about supply and global markets.

“Not only will this information assist the Advisory Panel in making decisions, but it may assist growers in understanding the export potential of their seed and the markets available,” said Ms McGaw.

Download the full report and Fast Facts. 

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