Product Used: Q31 Lucerne Winter Dormant
Q31 lucerne has proved the ideal lucerne in terms of quality and dormancy for cattle producer, Link Davies, of Mundubbera in Wide Bay – Burnett region of Queensland.
Traditionally highly winter active lucerne varieties are grown in the area but Mr Davies decided to switch to the winter dormant Q31 variety after its performance in a trial plot on the property.
“Q31 established really well. In the trial plot it was the first one out of the ground.”
A commercial area of the variety was sown in late autumn in 2014 and has produced well across the two seasons in spite of some difficult conditions.
The summer of 2015/16 was quite challenging, with rainfall events occurring at times when the crop was ready to be cut causing it to be delayed.
“We generally cut around that 25 day mark and find we get 50 to 60 bales per acre of top quality hay,” Mr Davies said.
Due to the rainfall events of last summer, the window between cuts went out to 35 to 40 days.
In spite of this the Q31 lucerne managed to hang onto a fair percentage of leaf and survived the adverse conditions well through to cutting and baling. In these conditions the yield can go out to 100 bales per acre.
The majority of lucerne on the property is cut as small square bales and used on-farm or sold to a produce store.
Mr Davies said in certain conditions, such as the start of the season or when the lucerne extends past its ideal cutting date, or when rain is coming, he would also harvest the crop as round bale silage.
“We use a lot of silage on the weaner cattle,” he said. “They really like it. The weaners can be out in the paddock and I’ll put bales up in the yard and turn around and here are all the weaners at the gate.”
The main advantage of the Q31 dormancy is its ability to shut down across the cooler months where hay is traditionally hard to bale and often does not produce good quality.
“Q31 is the only lucerne I want to grow,” Mr Davies said. “I don’t want to grow through the winter.”
“At the moment we can get seven cuts across the season and average 65 small square bales per acre across each cut. We can then turn it off and walk away.”
Q31 will be planted on the property again this season and is grown under a pivot irrigator.
Mr Davies said they had spent a lot of time getting the nutrition right on their lucerne country and now had a good balance of applied fertilisers and soil condition to make the most of Q31.
Link Davies, of Mundubbera, QLD, in Q31 lucerne which produces quality hay across the summer period.