The “Forage for the Future” newsletter was developed as a result of a new movement among forage experts, who came together in Bonn, Germany last year to discuss the results of a survey of genebanks and researchers conducted in 2015.

In this first issue of the newsletter, Dr. Bruce Pengelly, an expert on tropical and subtropical forages and lead person behind this movement, summarizes some of the findings of the survey.

Dr. Pengelly says that six major genebanks, with collections sizes ranging from 7,000 – 21,000 accessions, focus on tropical and subtropical forages, generally stored under good conditions.

While this is very positive news, Dr. Pengelly also reveals some issues plaguing these genebanks as well as other interesting insights on forages around the globe. He states that, “Over the past 60 years many species collected from the wild have proved to be of no forage or pasture value, but we have them!”

Some of them could be wild crop relatives, though! And, likewise, some forage species could benefit from the genetic diversity found in their wild relatives.

The South Australian Research and Development Institute has received funding from this project to evaluate alfalfa wild relatives collected from primary and secondary centers of origin for drought tolerance. This project is also the first to receive freshly collected alfalfa wild relative seeds from the University of Pavia in Italy, one of 9 partners with whom agreements have been established to collect and conserve alfalfa amongst other crop wild relatives and make them available under the terms of the International Treaty.

The “Forage for the Future” newsletter will act as a channel through which such initiatives can be communicated. It is a step towards building a broader community where experts can share and exchange ideas and experiences surrounding forage conservation and use.

We encourage partners to subscribe to the newsletter by contacting Brigitte Maass (, and share their forage stories with the global community.

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