Feeding Leucaena for maximum beef profit – where can it grow; tips on establishment and what can help maximize the grazing benefits.

Leucaena leucocephala, a perennial browse legume, represents one of the few nutritional options to significantly improve beef productivity in northern Australia. Recently, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) researchers completed two Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) funded projects focusing on new management adoption strategies for Leucaena.

On this webinar recording DAF researchers Terry Beutel, Craig Lemin and Diane Ouwerkerk discuss:

1. Mapping potential land areas suitable for expansion of Leucaena pasture systems across northern Australia and how expert knowledge and existing spatial data sets can be used to map potential Leucaena distribution in Queensland, the Northern Territory, and northern Western Australia, estimating that up to 27.3M hectares of land in Northern Australia could viably support Leucaena (including 4.6M hectares in humid coastal areas of Queensland that are suitable for the psyllid-resistant Redlands cultivar).

2. Release of the psyllid tolerant Redlands cultivar in 2019 has invigorated Leucaena adoption in northern Australia where uptake was previously limited. Grazing performance was measured in a multi-year trial at Pinnarendi near Mt Garnet. Several North Queensland based producers are continuing to establish significant areas of Leucaena across a range of soil types and are adapting planting and management techniques based on their initial experience with good results.

3. To achieve maximum benefits when grazing Leucaena cattle need rumen bacteria capable of degrading the toxins mimosine, 3,4 DHP and 2,3 DHP. DAF research found that the Redlands cultivar had a negative effect on the DAF Leucaena inoculum leading to the development of a new mixed bacterial inoculum (TriMix), adapted for better utilisation and detoxification of different Leucaena cultivars including Redlands, Wondergraze and Cunningham. They also investigated if Queensland cattle possess rumen bacteria capable of degrading the toxins mimosine, 3,4 DHP and 2,3 DHP or would benefit from receiving the TriMix inoculum when being introduced to Leucaena-pasture grazing.

You can watch the full recording or use the playlist below to jump to the start of a particular section within the presentation. (44:47; published 29 February 2024 by FutureBeefAu).

Download a copy of the presentations:

  1. Cultivated Leucaena in northern Australia (PDF; 2.06 MB)
  2. Leucaena in north Queensland (PDF; 2.66 MB)
  3. Feeding Leucaena to manage the rumen for maximum beef profit (PDF; 1.85 MB)

Additional resources:

Full recording


Terry Beutel – where can Leucaena grow?
  1. Cultivated Leucaena in northern Australia
  2. How much Leucaena (is currently planted)?
  3. Potential distribution of Leucaena?
  4. Potential distribution – take home messages
  5. Financial benefits at an industry level
  6. Financial benefits – take home messages
Craig Lemin – tips on establishment
  1. Leucaena in North Queensland
  2. Adoption increasing in North Queensland
  3. Pinnarendi LWG experiment
  4. Pinnarendi LWG experiment – weaner steers, 2018-21
  5. Pinnarendi – heavyweight steers, 2022
  6. Establishment in North Queensland
  7. Single row or double row
  8. Psyllids – is Redlands worthwhile?
  9. The problem of under-utilised Leucaena
Diane Ouwerkerk – Feeding Leucaena to manage the rumen for maximum profit
  1. Leucaena leucocephala
  2. Leucaena toxicity
  3. DAF Leucaena inoculum – a brief history
  4. Results and findings (of fermentation #1)
  5. Experimental plan – Fermentations
  6. Results and findings (of fermentation #2)
  7. Do Queensland cattle possess rumen bacteria capable of degrading Leucaena toxins?
  8. Methods
  9. Results
  10. Conclusions

Contacts for more Leucaena information:


Northern Territory       

Western Australia