Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


Trifolium subterraneum, Plant breeding, Breeding programmes, Selection criteria, Hard seeds, Australia

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Subterranean clover is widely recognised as the most important pasture legume species in southern Australia, having been sown over about 20 million hectares.

Together with superphosphate and trace elements, it has been a key factor in improving and maintaining soil fertility, and has resulted in dramatic increases in crop, livestock and wool production.

While the value of subterranean clover is well established, it does have some shortcomings.

Many varieties grown today are not sufficiently adapted to the environments and management systems in use. Others lack sufficient pest and disease resistance.

Improved subterranean clovers are being bred with better adaptation and greater productivity for a range of environments and farming systems across southern Australia and in New Zealand.

This article outlines the breeding and selection processes and highlights recent developments.