Product Used: Cavalier Spineless Burr Medic
Cavalier medic is being utilised as an excellent feed option and for nitrogen fixation to improve future crops on the Turnbull property, at Cleve, in the central Eyre Peninsula of South Australia Johnny Turnbull said medic had been an important pasture option for a number of years on the property and last season was sown with oats in one area and as a straight option in others. He said the direct-sown medic went out at 6 kilograms per hectare and both options were sown dry in March well before the cropping program started. “Usually we use the oats for some early feed and then graze the Cavalier lightly throughout the season.” The excellent seed set of Cavalier medic is utilised to improve the pasture in the second year and encourage a bulk of feed throughout the period. “Cavalier seems to drop its seeds off more than the other medics,” Mr Turnbull said. “You can graze it at the same time.” He said knife points and press wheels were used at sowing and this allowed the fallen seed to congregate in the furrows and germinate rapidly with rain in early autumn. “It is very thick down the rows. If there is an early break you get a lot of feed.” In 2012 rain was received on the property in March and produced a bulk of feed throughout the cropping season.
Mr Turnbull said the medic paddocks were still green in October. He said the paddock sizes varied from 100 hectares down to some smaller areas and they would typically put large mobs of sheep in them to graze and different stages of the season. There are approximately 5000 sheep on the property and the larger mob sizes are introduced to a medic paddock for periods of between 15 and 20 days before being shifted to another area. “We find we can graze it hard and it will come back,” Mr Turnbull said. He said if an area of medic is spelled from September onwards it can respond quickly and produce a bulk of feed which is then used for grazing or could be cut for hay. Cavalier is a newer variety and has performed well on soil types ranging from heavy clays through to sand. A real benefit of the legume is the nitrogen fixation and general improvement in soil structure which assists the following cropping phase. Mr Turnbull said the crops that follow the medic pastures generally yield more and can also provide advantages in protein content and grades. “The crops are well ahead,” he said. Cavalier was also included in a pasture mix that also contained Paraggio medic, Bartolo Bladder Clover, Caliph Barrel medic, Dalsa sub clover and Clare2 Sub clover. Mr Turnbull said the mix had done well in its first year. He said at the end of the season Cavalier medic was the most prolific seed setter.
Johnny Turnbull, Cleve, South Australia