Developing Sustainable Fodder Crop Systems with New Annual Pasture Legumes

  • 104 pages

  • Published: 5 Dec 2007

  • Author(s): Wickham, Sarah, Revell, Clinton, Dr, Liu, Anyou, Dr

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This project was undertaken with farmer participation to examine the nutritive value and profitability of a range of annual pasture legumes suitable for forage conservation in the WA wheatbelt, relative to oats as an industry standard. This project revealed the potential for new annual pasture legumes to be used as conserved forage in the domestic market, particularly in the dry wheatbelt of Western Australia. The research found that Crimson clover will be a valuable species in medium to high rainfall areas, with Persian clover and balansa clover being favoured where there is winter waterlogging. In medium and lower rainfall areas, French serradella and rose clover will be better suited, particularly on sandy soils. The ease of on-farm seed production of French serradella will also make it one of the most economically attractive species for fodder conservation in the wheatbelt, especially on sandy soils where there are few other forage legume options. Legume mixtures with oats or ryegrass will lift productivity relative to legume monocultures and lift nutritive value relative to oat monocultures.