Seeds

New Zealand is an important supplier of quality seeds for our domestic pastoral sector and also a range of global export markets. The overall production of seeds has grown significantly both in volume and value since 2010 with grass seed production increasing from 29 million kg to 46 million kg in 2014, forage legume seeds from 3.5 million kg to 5.2 million kg. Another area that has grown significantly is vegetable seed which has grown from a combined 4.8 million kg to 9.2 million kg in 2014. In addition to forage brassica seeds (4.1 million kg, 2014) this market is valued at 190 Million NZD at the farm gate and contributes to 130 million NZD worth of exports. These crops achieve the higher value within an arable rotation, but they are also high risk and yield and quality need to be maximised in order to maintain export markets and maintain acceptable margins per hectare compared to other activities. FAR and its research partners have been instrumental in growing harvestable yield of grass seeds through careful management of growth regulators, irrigation and fertilisation at critical stages in the crop. Removing some of the risk and uncertainty around these high value crops is one of the permanent research challenges faced by the industry. FAR is aligned with the industry aim of increasing exports by 50% value by 2025. Current FAR Seed research involves herbage, legumes and grasses with projects looking at aspects of plant physiology, crop management and farm systems.