Research to improve production and persistence of subterranean clover is paying dividends for farmers with two new recent releases, York and Riverina, and others on the drawing board.
The new clovers promise improvement in disease resistance, better options for cropping rotations and greater adaptability to modern farming systems.
The research was undertaken by collaborating state agricultural agencies and, according to joint project supervisor Bill Collins of AGWEST, it will directly increase the productivity of the legume component of pastures.
"The main thrust of the crossing and selection programs has been to incorporate red-legged earth mite seedling resistance into well-adapted varieties," said Dr Collins.
The scientists aimed for more resistance in later-maturing lines to clover scorch, root rots and leaf rusts, with hard-seededness an aim for earlier-maturing lines and those aimed at cropping programs.
Characteristics of York and Riverina
York has the hard-seed traits, while Riverina has improved tolerance to both waterlogging and root disease.
Breeders have also sought to further decrease the content of formononetin, which causes infertility in ewes.
Contact: Dr Bill Collins 08 9368 3596 AGWEST;
Dr James Ridsdill-Smith 08 9333 6640 CSIRO