A trial of tropical legume blends in higher altitude country has looked promising on a Dalmara Pastoral Company property, near Blackville, on the edge of the Liverpool Plains in central New South Wales. Manager, Rod Harris said the country consisted primarily of red grass and northern grass and so the decision was made to put down a 10 hectare block trial of legumes. The Seed Distributors SowSmart Heavy Soils Tropical Legume Oversow Blend includes a range of medics and clovers and has been designed for oversowing of native grasses in heavy soils. Mr Harris said they broadcast the seed and some fertiliser across the area from the back of a spreader and then introduced 100 cows and calves to help trample the area and push the seed into the ground. “They worked it in although we have not had a lot of rain since. I think it is in autumn that we will really see the benefit.” He said the seed germinated and was still holding on well despite the tougher conditions of spring and early summer. “We are definitely going to see a change in the autumn,” he said.
The property had been grazed hard by sheep over many years and so legumes were being introduced across the native grass pastures to help with nitrogen fixation, improve soil structure and provide feed options at different times of the year. It was not feasible to direct-drill the seed into the country, so the broadcast option was the best way forward and had demonstrated it could work despite the dry conditions. Mr Harris said the success of the trial could lead to a similar seeding of 1800 acres on the property. He said the aim was to produce a lot more growth on the property and run more breeders.
Rod Harris, of Dalmara Pastoral Company, at Blackville, NSW