Saatzucht Steinach

Our Plant Breeding

Draufsicht Felder


Improving useful plants both biologically and economically

At SAATZUCHT STEINACH we have been breeding grasses for over 100 years now, which makes us on of the oldest forage plant breeding companies in the world. Today we use traditional as well as state-of-the-art biotechnology techniques to breed forage and lawn grasses, legumes and catch crops. In total we are working on 27 species in a range of breeding programs at two sites. The most species we are working on are cross-pollinating species, which is why we have sensibly separated the breeding programs between our two sites in Steinach and Bocksee. The breeders work a total of 76 hectares of breeding nursery, the equivalent to around 40 000 plots per year, not including spaced-single-plant beds and pre-basic multiplication. Both locations are equipped with climate-controlled rooms, greenhouses and laboratories.

SAATZUCHT STEINACH has around 100 varieties ready for sale in Germany and abroad.


Profitable forage grasses and valuable lawn grasses.

Grasses are a group of very diverse forage plants. On grassland and in feed crop production they provide energy, protein, and other valuable nutrients. Correctly managed, twice as much protein can be produced on one hectare of grassland as on one hectare of soy beans. Only ruminants are able to turn grass into milk and meat. This gives us our breeding aims: productive, high yield, persistent grasses which are resistant to disease and have a high nutrient value. Our High Sugar Grasses (HSG) are a good example of these aims. Our breeding efforts are focused on popular varieties of ryegrass, meadow fescue, and smooth-stalked meadow grass. Locally significant varieties such as tall oat grass and golden oat grass, meadow foxtail and cocksfoot are also maintained.

The breeding aims for lawn grasses are almost the direct opposite: slow growth and low mass. Here too, however, the health and density of sward are required. There are 12 – 15 species significant for producing lawn mixes of the appropriate breadth. Of these, we have seven species in our breeding nurseries. The best of these are the high-performance Loretta lawn ryegrasses and the well-regarded varieties of supina blue grass.


Regional sources of protein.

Legumes live in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria living on their roots. Working together, they turn nitrogen atoms in the air into organically fixed nitrogen. They increase the fertility of the soil and provide a crop of very high nutritional value, which is rich in proteins and minerals. Bearing in mind that fossil energy resources are dwindling, legumes will become indispensable for securing the nutritional needs of both humans and animals.

Our range includes blue lupins, alfalfa, red and white clover. Blue lupin is also known in Germany as “Soja des Nordens” or “Soya of the North”. Robust and undemanding, they yield a protein-rich grain. Alongside animal fodder, their biofunctional protein is of increasing interest in the development of new plant-based foods. White clover is the most important legume in permanent grassland. Red clover and alfalfa complete our breeding programme as the king and queen of arable forage production.


The multitalented stars of arable farming.

A cover crop is a plant cultivated between the harvesting of one main crop and the sowing of the next. There are winter and summer cover crops. Cover crops must germinate quickly in order to be able to make best use of the short growing period available to them. The properties and uses of cover crops are many and varied: soil improvement and health, nutrient binding, protection from soil erosion, feed production, biogas production and bee forage. In terms of summer cover crops we focus on mustard, oilseed radish, phacelia and serradella. Resistant varieties can reduce attacks by nematode worms, which damage plants. Strong growth, a large root system and late flowering are the advantages. When it comes to winter cover crops our breeding is focused on forage rye. Alongside grassland and maize, forage rye is one of the most important plants in biogas production. Desirable characteristics include tolerance of late planting, rapid building of mass in early spring and high dry matter yields.


From the idea to breeding success.

In the research and development field we maintain strong relationships with German and foreign universities, public research institutions, private providers and other breeding houses. On the one hand this gives us access to very useful sources which ensure the genetic diversity of our breeding material. On the other hand we are able to develop highly efficient testing procedures which we then use to test important characteristics of our lines. We are a member of the Society for the Promotion of Private German Plant Breeding (Gesellschaft zur Förderung der privaten deutschen Pflanzenzüchtung or GFP). This organisation initiates and coordinates joint research projects in the pre-competition sector. Having direct contact with various research institutions also allows us to investigate questions specific to our business within bilateral projects.

Our Varieties