Dryland Legume Pasture Systems: Small plot species adaptation trial


Research organisaton
Funding sources

Trial details

Researcher(s) Fiona Tomney
Contact email fiona.tomney@sa.gov.au
Contact phone 0459857691
Year(s) 2019
Contributor SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre
Trial location(s) Site 14, Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA
Related trials
Dryland Legume Pasture Systems: Small plot species adaptation trial locations

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, improve fertility through nitrogen (N) fixation and mixed farming reduces economic risk. 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 being undertaken 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.

Key messages

This is a component of a five year Rural Research and Development 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.
• This trial aims to assess a diverse range of annual pasture legumes in order to determine whether there are more productive and
persistent options for the drier areas (<400 mm) of the mixed farming zone of southern Australia.
• The annual medics were the most productive pasture legume producing > 2 t/ha DM and setting > 500 kg/ha of seed. A new Tetraploid Barrel medic was the most productive.
• Astragalus was the most promising alternative legume and warrants further evaluation.

Lead research organisation N/A
Host research organisation N/A
Trial funding source AWI RnD4Profit-16-03-101
Trial funding source GRDC RnD4Profit-16-03-101
Trial funding source MLA RnD4Profit-16-03-101
Trial funding source Department of Agriculture RnD4Profit-16-03-101
Related program N/A

This project is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture 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. Commercial annual legume cultivars are produced by a range of companies and we appreciate them making their cultivars.

Other trial partners Not specified
Download the trial report to view additional trial information


Crop type Medic
Treatment type(s)
  • Crop: Type
  • Soil: Type
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Randomised,Blocked

Minnipa Agricultural Centre 2019

Sow date 16 May 2018 16 May 2019
Harvest date Not specified
Plot size 5m x 1.5m
Plot replication 3
Plot blocking Random
Plot randomisation Random blocks
Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information
Trial source data and summary not available
Check the trial report PDF for trial results.
Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Not specified
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Site 14, Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Red sandy loam
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source: ASRIS
Trial site Soil order
Site 14, Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Anthroposol
Soil Moisture Source: BOM/ANU
Average amount of water stored in the soil profile during the year, estimated by the OzWALD model-data fusion system.
Year Site 14, Minnipa Agricultural Centre SA
2019 403.6mm
2018 429.5mm
2017 443.9mm
2016 405.1mm
2015 379.2mm
2014 440.5mm
2013 402.0mm
2012 445.2mm
2011 465.2mm
2010 442.3mm
2009 474.7mm
2008 403.9mm
2007 395.3mm
2006 423.0mm
2005 379.0mm
2004 360.2mm
2003 378.0mm
2002 382.0mm
2001 444.0mm
2000 464.3mm
National soil grid Source: CSIRO/TERN
NOTE: National Soil Grid data is aggregated information for background information on the wider area
Actual soil values can vary significantly in a small area and the trial soil tests are the most relevant data where available

Soil properties



Derived climate information

No observed climate data available for this trial.
Derived climate data is determined from trial site location and national weather sources.

Site 14, Minnipa Agricultural Centre SA


Some data on this site is sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology

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.

Trial report and links

2019 trial report

Trial last modified: 21-07-2020 13:17pm AEST