Jessica Gunn (SARDI)
|Contributor||SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre|
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA
In southern Australian mixed farming systems, there are many opportunities for pasture improvement, providing positive impacts to both cropping and livestock systems. Dryland legume pastures are necessary in low to medium rainfall zones to support productive and healthy livestock, along with optimal production in crops following these pastures. The majority of pasture species used in these mixed farming systems are short-lived annuals that complete their lifecycle from winter to early summer, with dry seasonal conditions resulting in a shorter growth window between germination and senescence. This is a major issue for livestock producers in these regions due to unreliable rainfall patterns leading to fluctuating legume growth, and the subsequent impact on feed supply and quality for grazing animals.
Innovative and improved legume species and pasture systems have the potential to fill existing nutrient gaps, thus reducing supplementary feed required for optimum ruminant performance, and maintain or improve livestock productivity through growth rates, fertility or product quality.
The Dryland Legume Pasture Systems (DLPS) project aims to boost profit and reduce risk in medium and low rainfall areas by developing recently discovered pasture legumes together with innovative management techniques that benefit animal and crop production and farm logistics. A theme of the DLPS project involves ‘Quantifying the benefits of novel legume pastures to livestock production systems’ and aims to maximise the advantages that pastures provide to livestock through increased animal growth and reproduction by extending the period of quality feed and reduced supplementary feeding. The animal systems research within the project will also assess areas of understanding anti-nutritional factors and ‘duty of care’ for new pasture species, providing opportunities for improved weed management and evaluate the main benefits of novel self-regenerating pasture legumes in crop rotations on animal production, health and welfare.
This theme is a component of a five year Rural R&D for Profit funded project supported by GRDC, MLA and AWI; and involving Murdoch University, CSIRO, SARDI, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development; Charles Sturt University and grower groups.
A five-year grazing system trial was established at the Minnipa Agricultural Centre (MAC) in 2018 to examine this theme and is the main livestock field site for the DLPS trial in the southern region of Australia.
|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.
We gratefully acknowledge the help of Jake Hull, Wade Shepperd and John Kelsh for site set-up and management and the assistance of Steve Jeffs and Bradley Hutchings for data collection, and the Waite team and Murdoch University team for data processing.
|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|
Sown using broad acre tractor and disc seeder. 2 Ha
|Sow date||5 July 2018 5-7 July 2018|
|Harvest date||3 December 2018|
|Plot size||Not specified|
|Plot blocking||fully randomised block design|
|Plot randomisation||fully randomised block design|
50 kg/ha DAP
Sowing was delayed due to lack of rainfall, which was required to allow naturalised medic to germinate at the trial site. A pre-emergent herbicide was used two days prior to sowing (2 L/ha Roundup DST + 40 ml/ha Hammer + 118 g/ha Sakura) to eradicate any naturalised medic plants already present, in order to reduce competition with the sown crop and pasture treatments.
A mixture of Targa Bolt @ 150 ml/ha, Uptake @ 0.35 L/ha and Clethodim @ 450 ml/ha was applied on 27 August to eradicate grasses.
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 inoculation treatments were applied with sticker @ 1.5%, lime and fungicide of 350 g/L Metalaxyl-M (ApronXL 350 ES) @ 1 ml/kg seed|
||Ground cover (%)||Biomass (t/ha)|
|1||█ Scepter wheat||59||5.7|
|2||█ Harbinger medic||61||0.8|
|3||█ Volga vetch||70||1.3|
|4||█ PM250 strand medic||63||0.5|
|5||█ Trigonella balansae||59||0.8|
|6||█ SARDI Rose clover||63||0.5|
|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.