Opportunities and challenges to increased lucerne adoption in New South Wales, Australia

Deborah Slinger, Richard Hayes, Alison Bowman

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper


A survey was conducted to identify and understand the key drivers of and the barriers to the broader adoption of lucerne in mixed farming systems across New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Three key segments of the NSW lucerne industry were interviewed either over the telephone or in person using a semi-structured interview format, including: i) 31 farmers from a range of locations, ii) 21 agronomists/advisers from either the public or private sectors, and iii) 12 representatives from retailers, distributors of lucerne seed in NSW and proprietary owners of Australian lucerne cultivars. It was estimated that the domestic lucerne industry in Australia consumes 1500-2000t of lucerne seed annually of which 40-60% is sold into NSW. The trends in seed sales over the past decade have been largely steady but this has coincided with a period of severe and extended drought over much of the target region which has had both positive and negative impacts on lucerne. The study showed that although lucerne has long been grown in NSW there are still substantial opportunities for increasing its adoption. Finding suitable companion plants to increase groundcover and reduce the risk of animal health disorders in lucerne swards as well as improving lucerne performance on acidic soils appear to be key opportunities warranting further research. However, the two key impediments to greater lucerne adoption were identified to be i) risk of establishment failure in dry years and ii) difficulties adapting existing cropping rotations to utilise more lucerne.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationFood security from sustainable agriculture
EditorsH. Dove, R.A. Culvenor
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe Regional Institute
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event15th Australian Agronomy Conference - Lincoln, New Zealand, New Zealand
Duration: 15 Nov 201018 Nov 2010


Conference15th Australian Agronomy Conference
CountryNew Zealand

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    Slinger, D., Hayes, R., & Bowman, A. (2010). Opportunities and challenges to increased lucerne adoption in New South Wales, Australia. In H. Dove, & R. A. Culvenor (Eds.), 15th AAC: Food security from sustainable agriculture (pp. 1-4). The Regional Institute.