Product Used: L56 Lucerne Semi-Winter Dormant
The high quality of hay produced over a range of seasons and conditions has made L56 the lucerne of choice for Peter Wood at Laidley, in the Lockyer Valley of south-east Queensland.
Mr Wood said he had grown L56 for the past 10 years and has been pleased with the quality of hay over the many seasons.
“Hay quality is one of the main reasons we grow it,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to get stalky and it tends to hang onto its bottom leaf. We’ve found it as good as any and we’ve stuck with it. There’s no reason to change.”
Lucerne is harvested into small square bales and sold to the horse industry.
“The horse people love it,” Mr Wood said. “It has nice fine leafy hay. That tends to be what they are looking for.”
Generally lucerne is sown at just over 30 kilograms per hectare in the winter time and they are able to take their first cut off in spring.
The establishment phase is vitally important to ensure maximum production in the years to follow and care is taken to prepare the seed bed and ensure adequate irrigation.
L56 provides three years of excellent production before the area is rotated through to barley or forage sorghum for a number of seasons and then put back into lucerne.
Mr Wood said he could get up to nine cuts of hay throughout the year and the winter activity of L56 allowed them to produce forage in the cooler months.
He said they would cut hay every four weeks in the summer and every six weeks in the winter time.
“In the summer we can get 50 to 60 bales per acre and then it drops down to 20 or 30 bales per acre in the winter,” he said.
The time between cutting and baling is three to four days in the warmer months and about a week as the temperatures drop.
Over many seasons L56 has demonstrated an excellent ability to adapt to the varied weather conditions and held on well under some extreme heat in February of 2016.
Mr Wood said L56 showed excellent pest and disease resistance and they hadn’t had any trouble with the lucerne in that regard.
The lucerne is often situated in a number of paddocks across the farm and mowed at different times to reduce work load and risk.
Peter Wood, of Laidley, QLD, in L56 lucerne which has consistently produced high quality hay across many seasons.