Cereal crops for New Zealand conditions

The Plant & Food Research cereal breeding programme, in association with Canterbury-based Luisetti Seeds, is focused on breeding new cultivars tailored for New Zealand conditions. The programme focuses on new milling wheat cultivars with properties that meet the requirements of the food industry, as well as cultivars for feeding animals. Agronomic performance is key – new cultivars have improved intrinsic resistance to pests and diseases, and the programme also has an increasing focus on cultivars with efficient nutrient and water requirements.

Cultivars from the programme hold about 45% of the New Zealand market and generate more than $50 million from seed sales and harvested grains. Conquest wheat, for example, is the first premium 1 grade milling wheat bred specifically for New Zealand conditions and is more than 10% of the total wheat harvest.