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Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture

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Project name Herbage Development Program
Funding bodies Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
Chief Investigators Dr Rowan Smith

TIA delivers the Herbage Development Program (HDP), which makes a significant contribution to Tasmania by developing and evaluating pasture and forage varieties suited to the state’s temperate grazing systems.

The program was initiated in the early 1990s in response to the need for better adapted and more persistent species/cultivars for the changing climatic conditions in Tasmania's, low to medium (<700mm) rainfall regions.

It plays as a major role in plant development, evaluation and deployment, as well as supporting adoption into profitable and sustainable grazing systems. The focus is on plants that are:

  • Adapted to Tasmania’s temperate grazing systems
  • Persistent to extreme events, with a focus on short and long term low rainfall periods
  • Resilient to hostile soils, including acidity, salinity, sodicity and duplex soils
  • Productive and responsive in difficult growing environments
  • Fit for purpose in grazing systems
  • Contribute to and enhance animal performance requirements of farm enterprises

Since the program’s inception, a number of new cultivars have been developed that are adapted to the medium and low rainfall zones. Much of the success of the program can be attributed to the passion and hard work of Mr Bob Reid and Mr Eric Hall, and their respective support teams, who headed the program between 1991-1996 and 1997-2013 respectively.  The long term historical commitment of these two leaders reflects the long term investment in time in developing pasture cultivars, commencement of breeding to commercialisation can take up to 10 years.

HDP Resources:

For more information about the HDP Program, contact Dr Rowan Smith:

Email: Rowan.Smith@utas.edu.au
Phone: 03 6324 5620