Legume production on the Monaro, predominantly on the basalt soils, is generally believed to be below potential targets based on average rain fall received and without this nitrogen re-cycling benefit, resultant grass production is often poor. The reasons behind this are poorly understood.
Maintaining an optimal legume mix is vital and integral to increasing production as well as understanding the limiting factors such as rainfall patterns, species selection and soil fertility/type. Nitrogen is a key to driving pasture production and helping to correct soil fertility by recycling of N and is therefore a significant contributor to overall soil health and productivity.
Annual sub clovers only last approx. three (3) years on the heavier basalt soils (possibly related to the wilting point and WHC (withholding capacities) of the basalt soils and problems with retaining and regaining moisture?). Perennial white clovers are more persistent but are very seasonal.
A three year trial was implemented on Richard Taylors property “Bellevue” with the following aims;
1. Exploring economics of what pasture to sow versus return / gross margin ie. match pasture economics with enterprise. Merino / wool enterprises rate of return may not warrant pasture improvement investment whereas X-bred enterprises may?
2. Address in an economic sense the effectiveness of sowing a legume ie. lucerne into traditional phalaris based pasture due to over-riding dominance of the phalaris.
3. Increasing the feed quality and legume content of a run-down pasture to match with a X-bred, fattening enterprise and looking at the most effective strategy to establish lucerne in a traditionally phalaris based pasture.
For results, interpretation and conclusions please see the reports attached.
MFS would like to acknowledge the following as Project Funders and Contributors;
Central Highlands Agribusiness Forum (CHAF)
Caring For Our Country