Product Used: L56 Lucerne Semi-Winter Dormant, Q75 Lucerne Winter Active
Areas of L56 and Q75 lucerne are being utilised to produce high quality hay for the racehorse industry on the Woods property near Maitland in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.
Tom Woods said they initially grew L56 lucerne after acquiring the property and then moved to Q75 lucerne in the years that followed.
“L56 is quite a good all-rounder,” he said. “It is hardy in terms of disease and pest resistance and can take a lot of rainfall without losing population, particularly in the seedling lucerne stage. L56 also has unbelievable yields.”
Q75 was planted in the March of 2015 and another area planted in August and has also performed particularly well.
It was sown at a rate of 35 kilograms per hectare and produced a population of nearly 200 plants per square metre.
Mr Woods said they sowed their lucerne at quite a high rate and it would naturally thin out so that only the strongest plants survived.
“It was an unbelievable stand.”
He said both varieties were in the early stages of establishment when the super storm of April 2015 hit the area and they handled the extreme conditions surprisingly well.
The area also received 450mm of rainfall in January of 2016 and the lucerne again coped well.
Local, high-end hay markets have been targeted with the produce from the Q75 lucerne stand and it has consistently delivered across the summer.
“Q75 is quite a soft hay, even the stem itself,” Mr Woods said. “It is a trait I like and a trait my customers like. It is quite noticeable in the bale. Q75 produces leaf right down to the ground. It has similar yields to L56 and, in terms of pest and disease resistance, it is almost as good as L56.”
Hay produced on the property is sold as a premium product to local race horse people who insist on fine stems and the maximum amount of leaf.
Mr Woods said he would expect a five year lifespan from both L56 and Q75 although the adverse weather conditions over the past twelve months will likely take its toll.
He said they could expect six to seven good sized cuts of hay across the summer, with the area harvested every 25 to 28 days, if conditions are favourable.
Yields of 50 to 60 small square bales per acre are common throughout the period and there is a real emphasis on the property to ensure all is done to maximise yield and quality from the lucerne.
This included herbicide programs in the seedling and established phases to knock out grass and broadleaf weeds as well as proper paddock preparation, irrigation and nutrition.
Tom Woods, of Maitland, NSW, in Q75 lucerne which is used to produce premium hay for clients with race horses.