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Australian Lucerne Seed Industry Synopsis

In Australia, 83 per cent of total lucerne seed production is produced in the upper- and mid- south-east of South Australia, around the area of Keith, Naracoorte, Tintinara and Bordertown, encompassing more than 16,000 hectares of both irrigated and dryland area.

The overall lucerne seed industry in Australia is currently worth around $95 million per year (2008 figures) with exports contributing around $30 million and domestic sales of $8.7 million. The remainder of the value lies in associated inputs and the allied industries (e.g. seed processors and marketers) that are crucial to the lucerne seed value and supply chain.

The Australian lucerne seed industry is made up of over 250 individual seed producing farms (seed growers submitting lucerne seed for ASA certification). It encompasses non irrigated production (dryland) and irrigated production systems, mainly from centre pivot and border-check (flood) irrigation systems. The Australian lucerne seed industry is capable of producing low dormancy through to highly winter-active varieties, which has led to companies from all over the world coming to Australian lucerne seed producers to multiply seed.

An economic contributor is the overall value of the hay which is cut from the lucerne plant before seed is produced. In 2008, the value of production for lucerne hay in Australia was estimated to be around $210 million per year.

Source: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation: Economic Analysis of the Australian Lucerne Seed Industry, by Rural Solutions SA and the Department for Trade and Economic Development. RIRDC Publication No. 08/10 (June 2008)

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