Product Used: Cavalier Spineless Burr Medic, Clare 2 Sub Clover, SARDI Persian Clover
A range of medic species have been used in a mix as part of the crop rotation phase on the property of Darryl Smith of Glenville Merino Stud, between Cleve and Cowell on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. Last season Mr Smith trialled a number of medic-based blends to see what would suit the different soil types and seasonal conditions. Typically the blend is undersown to a cereal in the cropping phase at a rate of between 2.5 and 3 kilograms per hectare and then allowed to set seed to produce a pasture the following year. In the past Mogul and Parraggio medics have been used although last season the blend was expanded to include Cavalier and Parabinga medics as well as Clare 2 sub clover and SARDI Persian clover.
Mr Smith said many of the paddocks had historically been sub clover country and medics were being introduced because they were a bit quicker and would also set seed. He said by putting in different varieties there should be something that will set seed in range of seasonal conditions. The medics are normally then used for one year for sheep feed in the pasture phase and also gives the added advantage of extra nitrogen in the soil. “Crops after the medic phase have lifted,” Mr Smith said. “Paddocks with good medic pastures have good protein in the wheat.” Paddocks range in size from 32 to 60 hectares and are generally grazed by mobs numbering between 150 and 200. The sheep are allowed to chew the medic down prior to being relocated in an adjacent paddock to allow the medic pasture to respond.
Mr Smith said, in the good conditions of 2010, the pastures responded very quickly and allowed two to three good grazings over the winter and spring. “This year the sheep would graze it down, be shifted out and by the time they got through the next paddocks the first one was ready again.” The medics are used for feed, to add nitrogen to the soil and also as a tool to control problem weeds such as capeweed and various grasses. Last season there was good success in controlling capeweed by spraying the medic areas with MCPA early and then grazing the areas heavily. “We put a big mob of sheep in there and the medics just took off after that.” Glenville Merino Stud is one of thelargest on the Eyre Peninsula. They carry approximately 1400 breeding ewes. Each year up to 250 rams are sold with the on-farm sale held on the first Tuesday in August.
Darryl Smith, Eyre Peninsula SA