Luisetti Seeds have recently concluded an agreement with Grasslanz Technology to breed and develop a new lucerne cultivar specifically for the New Zealand market.
Lucerne has long been a significant part of Luisetti Seed’s business; through seed sales and the sale of agricultural chemicals to maintain lucerne stand purity. Luisetti Seeds has been involved in cleaning lucerne for local clients since the 1940s and regularly receives lucerne from Marlborough to clean on our specialist lucerne Plant.
In the past, New Zealand bred lucerne cultivars (previously released by AgResearch and its predecessor DSIR) such as Wairau, Otaio, Kaituna and Torlesse have dominated the New Zealand lucerne market.
Cultivars bred and selected in New Zealand are likely to be more robust and offer increased production and stand-life compared to cultivars bred overseas.
Andrew Johnston has been working with Bruce Belgrave of Grasslanz and Keith Widdup of AgResearch to select a breeding line that will offer a significant advantage to New Zealand lucerne growers.
Material available at this stage offers a clear advantage in terms of dry matter production over currently available cultivars. Grazing persistence and durability trials are currently underway at Lincoln.
Dr John Caradus said that although this was the first breeding relationship that Grasslanz had formed with Luisetti Seeds, he was confident in forming this new partnership after witnessing the success of the Luisetti Seeds/Plant and Food Research Cereal Breeding Programme, which is now the largest producer of seed cereals in New Zealand.
The first seed production from the new lucerne programme is expected in 2013, with commercial quantities of a new cultivar potentially available in 2014.