HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE MAGAZINE
by clicking the arrows at the side of the page.
by clicking anywhere on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level.
and move the page around when zoomed in by dragging the page.
and return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues
a PDF of this magazine.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
a page via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.
TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS
, click the
button at the bottom of the screen.
Beyond the Bale : December 2014
ON FARM 51 Woolgrowers are increasingly turning to new pasture legume varieties to provide valuable feed for their sheep flock, particularly during the dry autumn months. Two hard seeded serradella varieties, Margurita and Santorini, are not only proving to be robust performers in tough Western Australian conditions, but are also putting essential nitrogen back into nutrient deficient soils. While the soft seeded variety, Cadiz, is more commonly found throughout WA, both Margurita and Santorini are beginning to make inroads because of their impressive ability to be planted during the hot summer months while remaining dormant until the break in the season. It is important to note that, as opposed to the soft seeded varieties, Margurita and Santorini only need to be sown once for year on year grazing potential. In the Esperance region, red clover syndrome is a commonly recognised virus that occurs in sub clovers faced with a dry period after the break. As a result, farmers are now looking for alternatives to sub clovers to ensure reliable legume feed sources for their sheep flocks. Esperance woolgrowers John and Narelle Wallace, who farm with John’s brother Stewart and his wife Jessica, run a 10,000 Merino flock, and are sold on the value of the hard seeded serradella varieties for their business. The Wallace family also crops 5000 ha of owned and leased land, and according to John, both the Margurita and Santorini serradella varieties inject valuable nitrogen into their soil to set up their rotations for the coming year. John has been planting serradella for five years, and despite requiring what he describes as a “strategic” grazing strategy in the first three years, he intends to plant his entire farm to the legume pasture in coming years. The Wallaces plant the serradella in summer, and the hard pod will ensure the seed remains dormant until the break in the season. They also employ a tactic known as twin planting whereby they plant the pod at the same time as their traditional crops, knowing that it won’t germinate until the following season. Twin sowing refers to sowing pasture seed with a cereal or canola crop, where little of the legume will emerge in the crop because of the pasture’s hard-seed dormancy, but will gradually become non-dormant over the following summer and autumn. Summer sowing applies the same principle only that the seed is sown after the cereal or oilseed crop is harvested. John has used the biomass from both the Margurita and Santorini serradellas as silage and hay, and believes the nutrient benefits of the plant for meat and wool production are second to none. “The nutrient value for summer sown serradella is fantastic. We make silage and hay out of the Margurita after I have grazed it twice and we still achieve 18 per cent crude protein and 12 megajules of energy,” he said. John says this nutrient value is even better than the finishing rations supplied to lambs in a feedlot. He also believes the use of serradella as a feed source ensures an even tensile strength in his wool clip. According to Margurita and Santorini breeder Dr Bradley Nutt, the two different varieties work well together in a sheep and wool production system. While the Santorini serradella is a yellow flowered wild variety with exceptionally hard seeded characteristics, the Margurita has been bred from Cadiz, which is a French domestic strain with pink or white flowers. Dr Nutt took six years to breed Margurita but said the results from the program, and the impact on mixed farming systems has been worth the wait. He says the Margurita French variety is much better suited to summer and twin sowing, but a combination of the two could work very well in any rotation. “For the past 50 years, WA breeders concentrated on the development of the yellow serradellas, such as Santorini, but the French varieties have much greater use in agricultural industries around the world,” Dr Nutt said. “Hard seeded French varieties, while being a domestic plant and much more fragile than the yellow varieties, have a much higher harvesting efficiency and the pods are easier to de-hull.” The development of the Margurita and Santorini serradella varieties are the result of co-investment by AWI and its predecessor in the NAPLIP and CLIMA programs. AWI and MLA are currently funding a 41⁄2 year research project with Murdoch University which aims to increase the productivity of annual pastures in mixed farming systems through improving the use of these newer legumes. SERRADELLAS Hard-seeded serradellas are providing mixed farmers with nitrogen rich soil for their crops as well as filling the autumn feed gap for their sheep. Esperance farmer John Wallace in his summer sown Margurita serradella. MORE INFORMATION For Information on the use and application of serradellas in a mixed farming enterprise visit www.agric.wa.gov.au SUMMER SOWING