Product Used: Cavalier Spineless Burr Medic
A decision to oversow two paddocks of lucerne with a medic has paid off with an abundance of cattle feed on the Burnewang Homestead property, at Elmore, in central Victoria. Farm manager, Frank Tobin, said the lucerne stand was three to four years of age but, due to seasonal conditions and management, was not performing as well as it should. He said he didn’t have any experience with medics but decided to direct drill seed into the lucerne to see if it could deliver the amount of feed they needed. “It delivered way beyond what I expected.” The Cavalier medic was sown at a rate of 8 kilograms per hectare in May with 60 kilograms of DAP per hectare also applied. “In July it started to hit its straps and by late September it was growing faster than what we could consume,” Mr Tobin said.
The 40 hectare area was in two 20 hectare paddocks and grazed by 160 Poll Hereford cows and calves from September onwards. One paddock carried cows with calves born in autumn and the other cows with calves born in spring time. Mr Tobin said an electric wire was used so the cattle could graze the maximum amount of feed from the area each day before being progressed to the next section. He said the wire was moved each day but they were still unable to get across each paddock after eight weeks of continuous grazing. “It was a huge volume of feed,” he said. As the Cavalier medic came into late spring the lucerne took over and provided more feed during the summer months.
The stand will be managed through the summer similar to a normal Lucerne crop. Mr Tobin said the Cavalier produced a mass of pods and the hard seed set should provide a strong base in the paddock for next season. He said if the medic germinates with rain in the autumn it will provide feed even earlier in the season with the two species complementing each other well. “It was my first experience with medics and it was a learning curve on how to manage it to get the most feed,” he said. “We will look at what we’ve done and make any changes for next year.” The seasonal conditions of 2010 certainly helped produce an excellent result from the Cavalier medic. “To take advantage of a season like this we needed to have the right product in the ground.”
Frank Tobin, Elmore VIC