Tropical Grasslands (1997) Volume 31, 315–319

The role of genetic resources in developing improved pastures in semi-arid and subhumid northern Australia

R.M. JONES1 and R.L. CLEM2

1CSIRO Tropical Agriculture, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia
2Department of Primary Industries, Gayndah, Queensland, Australia


The role of introduced pasture species in the drier areas of northern Australia, and the need for genetic resource support, are reviewed. Introduced legumes are the key to improving animal production from the less fertile duplex soils, whereas introduced grasses have been of greater importance on the more fertile and heavier-textured soils. There is increasing recognition of the need for legumes adapted to clay soils. All of the successful legume and grass cultivars are of exotic species. The development of useful cultivars and the role of the Australian Tropical Forages Genetic Resource Centre are discussed, using the recently released pasture legume Desmanthus virgatus as an example.

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