About Us


To represent the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade.


To act collectively on behalf of members to:

  • Create a favourable political, economic and commercial climate
  • Become the foremost authority on the industry
  • Facilitate the successful operation of members’ grain and seed trade within New Zealand and internationally.


Membership of the Association is open to those engaged in the grain and/or seed trade in New Zealand. There are currently over 80 members from sole traders to large corporates, with national and international presences. Their activities include:

  • research and development of new varieties
  • seed production
  • seed marketing in New Zealand and offshore
  • processing and distribution of grains and seeds
  • providing advisory services to growers
  • support services such as seed testing, broking and grading.

Members are expected to operate in a professional and ethical manner with credibility, respect and adherence to the Association’s rules of membership.

The New Zealand grain and seed industry operates in a totally free economy. It has no import or export tariffs, exchange controls or government interference and there are no supports or subsidies.

Several decades of these conditions have demanded resourcefulness from the industry and have resulted in strong businesses soundly based on economic realities.

Economic Contribution

The industry’s contribution to the New Zealand economy is substantial. Association members are at the heart of an industry with an annual production of:

  • 40,000 tonnes of seed off 40,000 hectares of land.
  • Seed with an estimated value of $150–170m
  • Seed exports of $221m. Seed is the perfect delivery vehicle for enhanced performance and is the foundation for downstream annual production of:
  • Pasture seeds, primarily ryegrass and clovers, that support the livestock industry
  • 950,000 tonnes of barley, wheat, maize and oats
  • 350,000 tonnes of grain for human consumption and 600,000 tonnes for animal feed

The estimated farm-gate value of the above is $370m, the compound feed industry value $500m, poultry and pork products produced from this grain $1200m and retail value of cereal products $1200 million.


The New Zealand pasture seed industry began with the importation of English ryegrass for improved pasture grasses during the 1800s. Perennial ryegrass in particular adapted well and provided better nutritional value for livestock than the native grasses. Improved pastures soon required seed multiplication, which was the basis of the New Zealand seed industry. Development of local eco-types followed, laying the foundation of a modern and successful plant breeding sector.

Grain production and trade dates back to the late 1880s and early 1900s when large areas of wheat were grown for the fledgling flour milling and baking industry.

The New Zealand Grain & Seed Association was formed in 1919 for the primary purpose, at that time, of drawing up terms of trade between members and to bring some order into the trade. The Association is now an incorporated society and is administered by an elected Executive Council along with a General Manager. It operates through a committee structure that encourages significant member participation in specialist areas.


Many New Zealand-bred cultivars, especially ryegrass, tall fescue and clover species, are commercially adopted in other countries. Pasture seed has traditionally been the mainstay of New Zealand seed exports, but there is a rapidly increasing trend towards vegetable seed production aimed particularly at the populous countries of Asia.

In recent years substantial new business has also been developed in contract seed production for other countries. Opposite production seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres enable plant breeders to accelerate seed production, and commercial companies to make up seasonal shortfalls from their own production.

Pasture seed and vegetable seed are currently the main export items. Approximately 36,000 tonnes of seed are exported annually; 2014/15 exports were estimated at over $170 million. Major markets are the United States, Australia, Europe, Japan / China and South America.


The Association acts for members across a wide range of activities, especially in matters relating to government, regulatory and industry agencies including MPI, Federated Farmers, AFIC, FAR, GERMAC and PMAC, and provides a focal point for industry-based communications.

Added value in membership:

  • Forums for networking with industry members.
  • Forums for networking with associated industries and organisations.
  • Promotion of the industry.
  • Provides a Lobby group with government and agencies.
  • Facilitate international trade through international bodies.
  • Facilitate international market access.
  • Provide support for members on import and export matters.
  • Set and provide standards for products and the transaction of business.
  • Provides a dispute resolution procedure both within New Zealand and internationally.
  • Facilitates industry training for the staff of members.
  • Provides a mechanism for sharing trade leads and international contacts.

Regulatory environment New Zealand is in the unique situation of having no laws specifically governing the domestic production, certification or marketing of seed. However, general laws relating to fair trading apply. Protection for new cultivars is afforded by registration under the Plant Variety Rights Act and the New Zealand seed certification system, which has been operating for almost 80 years and is modelled very closely on the OECD seed certification scheme.

While participation in the New Zealand seed certification scheme is voluntary, the pasture seeds industry participates to a very high level and this plays an important role in protecting the integrity of the seed industry by optimising standards and ensuring conformity with procedures. The Seed Quality Management Authority (SQMA) comprises representatives from industry groups along with government representatives and acts as a watchdog on regulatory and seed certification issues.

The Ministry for Primary Industries plays an important role in the administration of import and export quarantine procedures.

Vision for the Future – To ensure that the Association

  • Represents all seed and grain sectors
  • Is a strong advocate, regarded as foremost industry authority
  • Enhances the image and profile of the industry
  • Encourages the development of enhanced industry value chains
  • Assists grain and seed industry sustainability
  • Meets membership/industry needs and increases total business value
  • Provides outstanding industry leadership
  • Attracts all qualifying businesses as members
  • Is effectively managed with close co-operation of members.