A wide-ranging seed collection programme, mainly in Australia, initially provided NZDFI with a large, broad-based genetic resource with excellent potential for selecting elite trees for breeding.

Since 2008, Proseed NZ (Australasia's largest tree seed company and NZDFI partner) have coordinated seed collection of selected eucalypt species within Australia and New Zealand. Collections ranged across south eastern and southern Australia. Seed from some top quality New Zealand E. globoidea trees was also collected.

We have accumulated a large collection (over 500 families) of provenances and families from our selected species, providing genetic variability at a scale which gives great scope for genetic improvement.

Proseed's clonal seed orchards

NZDFI partner Proseed NZ have established E. bosistoana and E. globoidea clonal seed orchards at their Amberley, North Canterbury, base.

Production of improved E. globoidea seed from the clonal seed orchard began in 2020 and is going strong. We plan to expand the seed orchard if further grafting of clonal stock in the 2024 season is successful. Seed collection from elite trees in our breeding trials will also continnue (see below). We anticipate early seed production in some of the five 2021 second generation E. globoidea seedling seed stands to begin shortly, allowing seed collection and supply of second-generation planting stock to begin.

The E. bosistoana  clonal seed orchard is now in full production. We expect to harvest millions of seeds from 2025 onwards.

Proseed NZ CEO Shaf van Ballekom shows Australian visitors the E. globoidea clonal seed orchard. 

Collecting seed from elite trees identified in our trials

From 2000, we began collecting seed from superior trees identified from within our own breeding trial network. Seedlings produced from this seed form the 1st generation of our improved planting stock, available from 2021 onwards to growers.

Continuing seed collection from elite trees is a key part of our breeding programme. Following completion of productivity, form and wood properties assessments, we have identified elite families within NZDFI’s E. bosistoana and E. globoidea breeding populations and selected plus trees within these families for seed collection.

In spring 2023 we undertook a programme of seed collection from our elite E. bosistoana and E. globoidea, as well as some E. macrorhyncha. 

Collecting seed from E. macrorhyncha, Marlborough, 2023.

Producing planting stock

Tens of thousands of seedlings have already been grown by various NZDFI-approved nurseries (predominantly Morgans Road Nursery near Blenheim) from the seed supplied by Proseed.  The first genetically improved planting stock was produced in 2021, when a total of around 242,600 seedlings were despatched to growers. We are scaling up production to meet demand, with the aim of having 60,000 hectares of improved stock planted by 2050.

A small number of clonal E. bosistoana were also produced from rooted cuttings by Proseed in 2021, and these have been incorporated into our 2021 trial plantings.