New Zealand farmers purchased more than 10,700 tonnes of proprietary pasture seed in 2020 – the strongest sales year on record, according to the New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association (NZPBRA).
The above figure confirms farmers are increasingly prepared to invest in and recognise the value of high-quality pasture that has been developed through extensive plant breeding and research.
According to the NZPBRA, proprietary seed is the highest quality seed you can buy due to its advanced performance attributes. It is also certified, which means it has been grown under regulatory supervision and has passed purity and germination inspections.
Germinal, a member of the NZPBRA, has supplied the New Zealand market with high-performing proprietary pasture seed for more than 15 years. Founded in Northern Ireland in 1825, the company is a sixth-generation family business that is a well-known and respected player in the world seed trade.
Since establishing a market presence in New Zealand in 2002, Germinal has developed a ryegrass breeding programme in Canterbury, which is supported by on-farm trials throughout the country.
There are many agricultural seed companies in New Zealand. What makes Germinal different?
The answer lies in the company’s exclusive partnership with a world-renowned grassland research centre – the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in Wales. Germinal has exclusive worldwide production and marketing rights for the varieties bred at IBERS.
Germinal New Zealand General Manager Sarah Gard says, “The IBERS partnership means we can provide New Zealand farmers with access to world-leading advances in plant breeding.
“By tying the IBERS research to our plant breeding programme and on-the-ground trials here in New Zealand, we can ensure resulting pastures perform within the reality of our unique local conditions – bridging the gap from lab to paddock.
“As a result, we are renowned for developing progressive varieties that support environmental compliance, lift animal performance, and increase pasture production and persistence.
“Another real point of difference for our company is that we are farmers too. Our people on the ground in our plant breeding programme all have strong rural backgrounds, so we have a practical, real-world understanding of what a farmer really needs from their pasture.”
Germinal has introduced several innovative products to the New Zealand market in recent years, including:W
- Aber High Sugar Grasses: One of the most significant introductions in agricultural plant breeding. By increasing the level of water-soluble carbohydrates, Germinal has increased animal production from grass while reducing emissions from grazing animals.
- AberLasting: The world’s first successful cross of Caucasian and white clover, providing farmers with a more robust and resilient natural nitrogen fixer – reducing reliance on synthetic fertilisers. Despite many attempts by international seed breeders and researchers to cross Caucasian and white clover, AberLasting remains the only commercially available hybrid of this type.
One of Germinal New Zealand’s key research objectives is to produce new products that support agricultural sustainability. The company recently launched a new global research programme to help farmers address current climate change challenges, and is establishing a new Germinal Horizon research station at Lincoln.
Potential new varieties in the pipeline include a white clover capable of using phosphorus more efficiently than conventional clover – reducing reliance on synthetic fertiliser.
Adds Sarah: “We believe alternative forages will become an important tool for reducing the impact of livestock farming on New Zealand’s environment – supporting farmers to sustainably balance increasing productivity and profitability, while reducing on-farm emissions.”