The world’s first commercial variety of bladder clover was unveiled today by Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance.
The new high-performance variety, AGWEST� Bartolo, which has been named after the grandfather of one of the breeders who was a farmer, is set to be grown throughout the State’s agriculture region.
Mr Chance said the clover had the capacity for high seed yields of up to 1.5 tonnes per hectare, and the seed could be easily harvested, handled and cleaned using common farm machinery.
“Once established, it is hard seeded, with more than 50 per cent of the seed remaining hard after one summer, making it suitable for both self-regenerating ley systems or as short-term phase pasture,” he said.
AGWEST� Bartolo was developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food with support from the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture.
It received financial backing from the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Australian Wool Innovation as part of the National Annual Pasture Legume Improvement Program.
AGWEST� Bartolo also fared well in sheep nutrition evaluations when compared with Dalkeith clover, with the results suggesting the clovers had the same relative feeding value.
“Sheep producers will be glad to learn that AGWEST� Bartolo has excellent grazing tolerance once established, and the seed becomes germinable in autumn, offering some protection against false breaks of the season,” the Minister said.
The new variety is well adapted to mildly acid to alkaline sandy loam and loam soils that receive 325-500 millimetres of annual rainfall.
AGWEST� Bartolo has low-to-moderate sensitivity to red-legged earth mite, moderate tolerance to blue green aphid and lucerne flea and is tolerant of native budworm. However, it is susceptible to the same plant viruses as subterranean clover.
The variety is easily identified by its striking pink flowers and it produces seeds contained in a papery ‘bladder-like’ pod.
Three licences have been awarded this season to bulk up seed available to farmers for the 2009 season.
Minister's office - 9213 6700