Messina is an exciting new annual pasture legume for winter-wet saltland areas in southern
Australia. Messina’s combined tolerance to salinity and waterlogging ensures that it will make a significant contribution to increasing the productivity of Australian saltland. It is also likely to hold significant potential for export markets.
Messina’s potential was first identified during research conducted by the former CRC Salinity. Its tolerance to the combined stresses of salinity and waterlogging easily surpasses that of all other pasture legumes.
Early development of messina was hampered by nodulation failure (inability of nitrogen-producing rhizobia to form nodules on messina’s roots). Therefore, one aspect of the research program focused on identifying a persistent strain of rhizobia that could effectively nodulate messina in saline environments. Once this hurdle was overcome, the research team focused on evaluating messina germplasm and selecting a suitable cultivar in the lead up to commercialisation.
Messina has been under detailed evaluation since 2006. One line has now been selected for commercial release and is presently undergoing seed increase. The commercial release of this line and its associated rhizobia is scheduled for either 2015 or 2016.
Contact: Projectleader Dr Phil Nichols, DAFWA
Andrew Craig, SARDI (South Australia)
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