Pasture legume establishment information in high demand

Trade cattle in body condition score 4 out of 5 graze a Caatinga stylo/buffel grass paddock.
Photo 1 While incorporating legumes into a grass pasture has been shown to be very profitable, the rate of incorporation of perennial legumes, such as Caatinga stylo (pictured) in Queensland’s Brigalow Belt is very low.

Queensland’s Brigalow Belt is home to over 30% of the northern Australia beef cattle herd with large areas of highly fertile soils suitable to sown pastures. Inclusion of perennial legumes into these pastures has been shown to not only increase beef production but also whole-farm profitability. However, widespread adoption of pasture legumes has been slow. The MLA-funded Legume BMP project aims to assist graziers in successfully establishing perennial legumes through a variety of research, development and extension activities, including producer workshops.

To date, the Sown Pastures Team have conducted 14 Legume BMP workshops attended, by over 250 graziers.

On Thursday 25th July, the Johnstone family at Banana hosted a workshop at their property ‘Gibson’ which was attended 19 beef producers from 15 businesses. Group size for these workshops is restricted due to the interactive nature of the day, and this workshop was at full capacity one week before RSVPs closed.

Senior Agronomist, Stuart Buck (Rockhampton), and Pastures Agronomist, Louise Walker (Toowoomba), presented the latest in DAF’s legume establishment research and the day’s proceedings were guided by the ‘legume establishment timeline’ covering:

  • Fallow and pre-planting activities to select the site and prepare it to store moisture,
  • Planting techniques and tips including fertilizer application, rhizobia inoculation, and seed selection
  • Post planting weed control
  • Grazing management to ensure a large proportion of the pasture is legume.

Beef Extension Officer, Kylie Hopkins (Rockhampton) spoke about the latest Drought and Climate Adaptation Program-funded research, in which economic analyses indicate that establishing legume pastures is a very profitable venture for businesses in the Fitzroy region.

Attendees completed a legume establishment ‘action plan’ for a paddock on their own property and several producers expressed interest in being a part of trial sites to demonstrate best practice legume establishment under the expert guidance of the Sown Pastures Team.

The day concluded with a paddock walk through some successfully established legume pastures on the host property ‘Gibson.’

Demand for this workshop was so great that another is being scheduled in the Banana area in late August. For more information on the upcoming workshop in Banana plus several others scheduled for southern Queensland, stay tuned to the FutureBeef website and social media channels.

Beef producers sit in camp chairs at tables in a shed where Principal Agronomist, Stuart Buck, discusses the key principles to establishing perennial legumes in grass pastures.
Photo 2 Principal Agronomist, Stuart Buck discusses the key principles to successfully establishing perennial legumes in grass pastures.

For more information on the Legume BMP project or the profitability of perennial pasture legumes in central Queensland, head to any of the FutureBeef web pages listed below.

For future event enquiries in Central Queensland, contact Stuart Buck (Senior Agronomist, DAF), or for future event enquiries in southern Queensland, contact Louise Walker (Pastures Agronomist, DAF).