That is according to new sales data released by New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association (NZPBRA).
“That’s the equivalent of just over 6600 average sized dairy farms,” NZPBRA general manager Thomas Chin said.
“What this clearly shows is that farmers are using well-bred, well researched, proven plant genetics to get the best out of their land and their animals.
“It’s good news for the plant breeders who invest heavily in developing new pastures every year and it’s good news for New Zealand as a whole.”
The sales data covers proprietary ryegrass, clover, cocksfoot, tall fescue and lucerne seed and comes from NZPBRA member companies.
Chin said while specialist pasture options like fescue and lucerne have a solid market, proprietary ryegrass and white clover remain by far the most planted species on New Zealand farms.
Over 7300 tonnes of perennial, hybrid, Italian and annual ryegrass seed was sold last year alone, with nearly 650 tonnes of clover seed.
Tall fescue totalled 217 tonnes, and lucerne 115 tonnes.
Since 2009, total proprietary ryegrass seed sales have exceeded 29,300 tonnes which at an average sowing rate of 20 kg/ha is enough to cover just over 1.4 million ha, Chin said.
“Lucerne and fescue seed sales over the same period take that total to approximately 1.53 million ha.
“Whichever way you look at it, there’s nothing like the vigour of new seed and good feed for millions of head of livestock.”