Fiona Tomney (SARDI)
|Contributor||SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre|
Site 14, Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA
Legume pastures have been pivotal to sustainable agricultural development in southern Australia. They provide highly nutritious feed for livestock, act as a disease break for many cereal root pathogens, and improve fertility through nitrogen (N) fixation. Despite these benefits pasture renovation rates remain low and there is opportunity to improve the quality of the pasture base on many low to medium rainfall mixed farms across southern Australia. A diverse range of pasture legume cultivars are currently available to growers and new material is being developed. Some of these legumes, such as the annual medics, are well adapted to alkaline soils and have high levels of hard seed, which allow them to self-regenerate from soil seed reserves after cropping (ley farming system). Other legume cultivars and species are available and being developed that offer improved seed harvestability, are claimed to be better suited to establishment when dry sown and/or provide better nutrition for livestock. Regional evaluation is needed to determine if they are productive and able to persist in drier areas (<400 mm annual rainfall) and on Mallee soil types common to the mixed farming zone of southern Australia.
The Dryland Legume Pasture Systems project will both develop and evaluate a range of pasture legumes together with innovative establishment techniques, measure their downstream benefits to animal and crop production and promote their adoption on mixed farms.
|Lead research organisation||
South Australian Research and Development Institute
|Host research organisation||
SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre
|Trial funding source||GRDC RnD4Profit-16-03-010|
|Trial funding source||AWI RnD4Profit-16-03-010|
|Trial funding source||MLA RnD4Profit-16-03-010|
|Trial funding source||AGRR&D RnD4Profit-16-03-010|
Dryland Legume Pasture Systems (Rural R&D for Profit)
This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program; the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Meat and Livestock Australia; and Australian Wool Innovation. The research partners include the South Australian Research and Development Institute, Murdoch University, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and Charles Sturt University, as well as 10 grower groups. Project code: RnD4Profit-16-03-010.
|Other trial partners||Murdoch University, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and Charles Sturt University|
The trial at Minnipa in paddock S8 was arranged in a fully randomised block design, with four replications. Similar trials have been established at Loxton (SA), Piangal (Vic), Kikoira (NSW) and Condobolin (NSW). Data was analysed using Analysis of Variance in GENSTAT version 19. The least significant differences were based on F probability = 0.05.
Thirty different pasture legume species (Table 1) were sown to provide a broad range of legume species and attributes. The chosen species are a mixture of old varieties, new varieties, pre-releases, legumes with new traits, and pasture gene-bank selections based on their likely adaptation to rainfall and soil type. Some legume cultivars developed in Western Australia have also been included. These have performed well in WA and more recently in NSW, on their acid-dominant soils, but have had limited evaluation in South Australia where neutral to alkaline soils prevail.
|Sow date||27 June 2018|
|Harvest date||3 December 2018|
|Plot size||5m x 1.5m|
|Plot blocking||fully randomised block design|
|Plot randomisation||fully randomised block design|
The trial site was sprayed before sowing with 1.5 L/ha Weedmaster (Glyphosate) + 80 ml/ha Nail and 300 ml/100 L of LI 700, to kill any naturalized medic plants that had germinated.
The trial suffered two pest attacks. Firstly by Cowpea aphids which appeared on all lines but at higher density on the vetches, and then by Native Budworm. Fortunately both of these pests were brought under control and did not appear to have caused any lasting damage.
|Inoculant||All seed was inoculated with the best available strain of rhizobia and lime pelleted before sowing.|
|Rainfall avg ann (mm)||325mm|
|Rainfall avg gsr (mm)||242mm|
|Rainfall trial total (mm)||269mm|
|Rainfall trial gsr (mm)||208mm|
SILO weather estimates sourced from https://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/silo/
Jeffrey, S.J., Carter, J.O., Moodie, K.B. and Beswick, A.R. (2001). Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data , Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol 16/4, pp 309-330. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-8152(01)00008-1.