Seed busines S&W excited by new vetch

Gregor Heard
By Gregor Heard
July 24 2021 - 2:30am
David Basham, SA minister for primary industries with Tom Damin S&W Seed Company Australia pasture research lead, inspecting Studenica vetch at the Penfield pasture evaluation site Virginia.

SEEDS business S&W Seed Company Australia is excited by the prospects of its new Studenica vetch.

Speaking during a visit to S&W's Virginia trial site in South Australia by the South Australian minister for primary industries David Basham, S&W Australia's senior vice president Dennis Jury said there was a bright future ahead for the variety.

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"S&W are excited with the market uptake and acceptance by Australian farmers of Studenica vetch," Mr Jury said.

"Now that it is fully commercialised and with the continued support of SARDI (the South Australian Research and Development Institute), the future for this variety is extremely positive," he said.

Studenica was bred by SARDI with assistance from the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

S&W officials are hopeful it can be one of the most versatile and widely adapted vetch varieties in the country.

The variety license was granted to S&W Seed Company Australia in 2018 and had been in pre-commercial seed multiplication for the past few seasons.

The variety was available to growers in 2020 commercially for the first time, with good feedback ensuring high demand this year.

The variety has an improved disease resistance and grain yield option in low to medium rainfall zones compared to older vetch varieties. However, its most distinct benefit is excellent seedling frost tolerance.

Studenica shares a white flower colour with one of its parent varieties, Blanchfleur, chosen as a parent due to its known seedling frost tolerance.

Recently sown plots of Studenica were on hand for Minister Basham to get some first-hand perspective of the advantages of the new release.

While touring the field plots, there was also the opportunity to observe some of the new material to be released from the SARDI Medic Breeding Program, which was jointly developed and co-funded by S&W and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Penfield and Emperor are two new barrel medic varieties to be commercially released for the 2022 season.

The varieties have sulfonyurea (SU) herbicide residue tolerance and spineless pods.

S&W said market feedback suggested both varieties will quickly become very important to graziers in mixed cropping zones where medics are an important inclusion for sustainable agriculture.

S&W Seed Company Australia is involved in a number of crop species including lucerne, dual purpose wheats, and forage sorghum.

Vetch is one of Australia's most important legume hay species and is becoming increasingly widely grown, especially as a pulse phase in low rainfall zone cropping systems.

Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

National Grains Industry Reporter

Gregor Heard is Fairfax Ag Media's national grains industry reporter, based in Horsham, Victoria. He has a wealth of knowledge surrounding the cropping sector through his ten years in the role. Prior to that he was with the Fairfax network as a reporter with Stock & Land. Some of the major issues he has reported on during his time with the company include the deregulation of the export wheat market, the introduction of genetically modified crops and the fight to protect growers better from grain trader insolvencies. Still involved with the family farm he is passionate about rural Australia and its people and hopes to use his role to act as an advocate for those involved in the grain sector. Away from work, he is a keen traveller, having spent his long service leave last year in Spain learning the language.

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