Research and Plant Breeding

On this page you will find results from a number of trials that have been conducted in recent years, and below a description of our plant breeding programme.  On the menu to the left of the screen you can select research subjects and then find results from these trials.

Regional Trial Sites

DLF cultivars are extensively tested in regional trials before release.  You can read more details in each one by clicking site names on the left menu.

DLF Plant Breeding

DLF have been breeding improved forage cultivars in New Zealand for ten years.  It is important to breed here so that cultivars suit our peculiar climates and farm systems.

Our breeding centre is located in Canterbury, where each year up to 100 potential new cultivars are created each year.  These are then tested for two years on the breeding centre, with over 1000 plots measured each year.  The top 10% from these trials then go out to our regional on-farm trials (see below) for three years of testing under grazing and normal farm conditions, before a decision is made to commercialise a new cultivar.  Click here to view one of the trials.

Our senior plant breeder was Pedro Evans, who sadly passed away on 31 December 2016.  Pedro was a gifted plant breeder, as evidenced by the success of some of his creations, incuding Jeta and Ansa ryegrasses. Pedro's experience in Australia and New Zealand inspired him to select strongly for winter and early spring growth, and pasture persistence. Justine Feguson joined DLF in December 2015, and is continuing to develop the legacy that Pedro created from a decade of breeding, and making her own creations as well.

In addition to selecting for growth and persistence, Pedro actively selected for feed quality.  He was able to make rapid improvements because all of his 1000+ plots are tested for feed quality at each cut (over 5000 measurements per year) with a NZ-first harvester that has an in-built and calibrated NIR scanner (click on the photo below to watch a video of the machine in action).

Click here to watch the video

Caption:  View from the cab of the Haldrup as it instantly measures both yield and quality of all plots.

Caption:  Spectrum data for a single plot of ryegrass.

Trials in Your Region

DLF conduct many trials to test their cultivars and to generate new information on management.  To see more about these, scroll back up this page and select from the left menu.


Caption:  The Te Akau Pasture Trial site is located in Waikato coastal hill country.

Caption:  The Kaiwera Pasture Trial site in Southland has been running under intensive grazing for 42 months.