With grazing enterprises achieving solid returns, many farmers are looking to renovate and improve their pasture and fodder to lift productivity for the coming seasons.
This provides an ideal opportunity for the introduction of new and improved species and varieties.
It is exciting times, however, the Australian Seed Federation (ASF), a body for the Australian seed industry, is calling for diligence and sound stewardship.
Sifting through the many species options and alternative varieties can be confusing.
The ASF is encouraging growers and seed retailers to ensure they make an informed decision this season.
It is facilitating this by providing online tools to help the industry make better decisions.
The ASF has freely available resources on its website to assist seed buyers.
For example, the Smart from the Start checklist is a step by step reference point which provides information and guidance on many aspects including: Is it the species you want? Is it a true variety? Is a current Statement of Seed Analysis available?
The ASF’s online Pasture Seed Database fills a real gap in the industry, providing critical information about pasture seed products by species.
It identifies the intellectual property, marketing and varietal status of the various pasture seed products nominated by their Australian marketer.
According to the Federation’s CEO Bill Fuller, misinformation abounds in the industry about the role that varieties and species can play on farm – something that the ASF is keen to correct.
The related challenge is that when growers and retailers purchase these varieties they need to be sure that that they are getting what they pay for.
Sam Vagg, an agronomist and ASF member, has had several seasons in the field and says: “If I recommend a variety or blend to a grower I want it to perform to my recommendation. Sourcing and selling certified and authentic seed is the only way I can ensure this. It is the best way to know that what is on the tag is in the bag.
“It is disappointing for all when farmers are sold seed of a variety and told it will do a specific job for them when that particular variety of species is totally unsuited to performing in the particular conditions,” Sam says.
Sam concludes with a timely reminder: “When pasture seed costs can be around $300/ha in high rainfall zones, it is critical to source seed that you know is up to industry standards. Inform yourself about the pedigree and authenticity of the varieties that suit your conditions and most importantly achieve a great outcome for your customer or your farming business.”