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Legume options for summer-active pastures in a temperate rainfall environment of south-eastern Australia

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Stutz, R. S., De Faveri, J. and Culvenor, R. A. (2023) Legume options for summer-active pastures in a temperate rainfall environment of south-eastern Australia. Crop and Pasture Science, 74 (8). pp. 739-755.

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/CP22406

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/CP22406


Context: High-quality, summer-active pastures could improve meat production in south-eastern Australia by facilitating livestock finishing over summer, with legumes critical for enhancing the nutritive value of pasture mixes. Available legumes vary in their ability to withstand moisture stress and grazing.Aims: We aimed to identify legumes suitable for a summer–autumn finishing system.Methods: We tested pure swards of 12 cultivars across eight legume species in replicated small-plot experiments at Goulburn and Bombala, New South Wales, assessing productivity, persistence and warm-season nutritive characteristics over 2–3 years.Key results: Lucerne (Medicago sativa) was clearly the most productive species during summer and outperformed the clovers (Trifolium spp.) in terms of persistence and productivity throughout most of the experimental period at both sites, except during autumn 2021 after high rainfall in March. Caucasian clover (T. ambiguum) was also highly persistent at both sites. Talish clover (T. tumens) and strawberry clover (T. fragiferum) were more persistent than white clover (T. repens) and red clover (T. pratense). White clover recovered strongly under high rainfall after drought, whereas red clover established rapidly but showed less capacity for post-drought recovery. Hybrid Caucasian × white clover was the least productive legume. Alternative clover species sometimes had slightly lower values of nutritive characteristics than white clover; red clover sometimes had distinctly lower values.Conclusions: Lucerne performed best but several clovers were also productive, persistent and of high nutritive value over the summer–autumn period.Implications: Talish, Caucasian and strawberry clovers warrant further investigation for inclusion in summer-active pastures in south-eastern Australia.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Keywords:Keywords: clover, drought resilience, legume persistence, lucerne, perennial legume, southern tablelands, summer pasture, water-logging.
Live Archive:06 Jul 2023 23:16
Last Modified:06 Jul 2023 23:16

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