'On-demand' hardseeded pasture legumes: A paradigm shift in crop-pasture rotations for southern Australian mixed farming systems

Belinda Hackney, Bradley Nutt, Angelo Loi, Ron Yates, Jane Quinn, John Piltz, Janelle Jenkins, Leslie Weston, Mike O'Hare, Anna Butcher, Colin Butcher, Edwin Wolfe, John Howieson

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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This paper presents a synopsis on the past 10 years of hardseeded annual legume research and adoption. Failure of traditional legume species such as subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum) and annual medics (Medicago spp.) in the medium and low rainfall zones of NSW and WA necessitated the development of crop-pasture rotation systems underpinned by more resilient legume species. Such species had been developed and included biserrula (Biserrula pelecinus), bladder clover (Trifolium spumosum), gland clover (T. glanduliferum) and French serradella (Ornithopus sativus cvv. Margurita and Erica). However, their
use in farming systems was limited by lack of information on how to manage them and perceived high cost of establishment. The ability to harvest seed on farm using conventional headers and the unique hard seed characteristics of the new legumes resulted in development of the low-cost, one-time establishment options of twin and summer sowing. Robust rhizobia delivery technology was developed concurrently. Following establishment of the seedbank, new legumes can be used as an on-demand break option in the crop-pasture rotation as they, unlike traditional pasture legumes, do not need to be resown following each cropping phase. Additionally, legume species/varieties have significant potential for sustaining high levels of livestock production. Biserrula also has considerable potential in offering alternative control methods for the problematic cropping weed, annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication17th Proceedings of the Australian Agronomy Conference
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian Society for Agronomy
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event17th Australian Agronomy Conference - Wrest Point Convention Centre , Hobart, Australia
Duration: 20 Sep 201524 Sep 2015


Conference17th Australian Agronomy Conference
Abbreviated titleBuilding Productive, Diverse and Sustainable Landscapes
Internet address


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