$4.2 million program developing better Lucerne for livestock

South Australia’s livestock producers will benefit from new breeds of lucerne being developed through a $4.2 million partnership between the Marshall Liberal Government and Barenbrug Australia.


The South Australian Research and Development Institute will lead the program jointly with Barenbrug Australia (formerly Heritage Seeds) over the next five years. Acting Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Dan van Holst Pellekaan said any research and development work to evolve more resistant lucerne varieties will benefit the grains and livestock industries, which rely on strong lucerne production.


“This $4.2 million partnership will strengthen South Australia’s research and development capability to produce optimal lucerne varieties with better tolerance to acidic soils and grazing for our livestock producers,” said Acting Minister van Holst Pellekaan.

“We look forward to continuing this lucerne breeding program for another five years as it has been the most successful program of its kind in Australia with eight varieties released between 1993 and 2014.

“In the past 15 years the breeding program has made advances into breeding for improved tolerance to grazing, pest and disease and drought tolerance, which have led to improved productivity on farms across Australia and overseas.

“South Australia is seen as a world leader in feed and forage research with our seed exported to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, China, South and North America, and New Zealand. The extended breeding program will further investigate tolerance to forage quality, nitrogen fixation and salinity areas.”


Barenbrug Australia Portfolio Manager Steve Amery said they were looking forward to seeing the positive outcomes through the program.

“We’re thrilled to partner with SARDI again to build on this successful lucerne breeding program and see real benefits for producers,” Mr Amery said.

“It has a true impact not only in South Australia, but nationally and internationally, with many other countries using the lucerne varieties we develop, because they are proven to be the best.”


Pictured in SARDI 10 series 2 hay crop at Frances, South Australia are L to R – Steve Amery - Barenbrug Lucerne Portfolio Manager, Dr Alan Humphries - SARDI Lucerne Breeder, Charlie Koch - Tallageira Pastoral Co. and Toby Brown – Barenbrug Managing Director.