Product Used: L70 Lucerne Winter Active
L70 lucerne was used for silage and grazing and produced well in its first year on the property of Paul McCulloch, at Nundle, south of Tamworth in the New England region of New South Wales.
Lucerne was used as the main grazing option through the spring, summer and autumn periods and in August last year two paddocks were sown down to L70.
It was the first time L70 had been grown on the property and the variety impressed with its strong establishment and early growth.
Mr McCulloch said the lucerne received 35mm of rain a week after planting and, with the ground soaked, did an excellent job.
He said the forage was first utilised in early summer with both paddocks cut and made into four foot bales of silage.
“It made good silage and the cut also helped the lucerne really get away.”
Lucerne on the property is made into either silage or hay if there is excess production but is predominantly used as a grazing option for merino sheep and lambs.
The Merino ewes will normally lamb in July and August and initially feed on oats during the winter period before being turned onto the lucerne in the spring.
“I rotate the lambs around four or five paddocks and rely on lucerne to get us through the summer,” Mr McCulloch said. “Rain through January made the lucerne sit up nicely. Lucerne is the king of our summer feed here. There is nothing better for fattening lambs.”
The ewes and lambs are sheared in April and then the males and culled females are sent to market in July.
“It is a self-replacing flock with one main lambing and one main shearing,” Mr McCulloch said. “They are given a full 12 months for weight gain before we sell them.”
At least one paddock of lucerne is replaced each year with three to four years of production expected from a freshly planted stand.
Last season one of the paddocks had been fallowed through from a Cowpea crop and, in the other, lucerne was sown into an area that had grown lucerne previously.
A planting rate of seven to eight kilograms per hectare was used with a band seeder helping provide an even germination across the area.
In the past lucerne has been undersown to a cereal crop, however last season it was planted on its own and produced a very good result.
Each paddock on the property is approximately eight to nine hectares and is crash grazed by the flock of ewes and lambs before they are rotated to the next area
Paul McCulloch, of Nundle, NSW, in L70 lucerne which established well and was used for sheep feed and silage production.