The role of a Forage Genebank is to ensure the conservation and continued availability of genetic resources for planted pasture improvement. The conservation of South African forage biodiversity, the provision of well documented and monitored germplasm for researchers, the public and other national organisations as well as the provision of fundamental resources for biodiversity research are essential functions of germplasm conservation.


  • Record and make available passport data (accession number, scientific name, cultivar name, collecting number, collecting date, name of collector, and place and date of collection,) of germplasm on a geographical basis.

  • Germplasm are characterized morphologically and agronomically to distinguish between varieties using a standard descriptor list.

  • Maintain a nursery to provide and maintain an environment that will result in optimum seed

  • Development of an integrated information system that links all operations associated with germplasm conservation and management, thus to assist the staff in day-to-day activities such as to facilitate data recording, storage, maintenance and seed requests.


The outcome of forage seed conservation is to provide healthy plant genetic resources for utilization in breeding programmes so that good quality varieties of pasture crops with desired traits can be developed for improving animal production.

The acquisition and conservation of plant genetic resources is essential to protect the indigenous vegetation and its biological diversity. It serves to contain the loss of diversity, which threatens the food supplies of South African communities and its people. The selection and improvement of this germplasm along with suitable exotic plant material is aimed at developing pasture and forage cultivars adapted to South African agricultural conditions for the strategic supplementation of the fodder flow from natural pastures.

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