Lucerne & Lupins – The Follow Up

You may remember we spoke to Three Springs farmer Jim Heal earlier this year. Jim has been trialling under-sowing lupins with Lucerne on his farm this year, and now the Lupins have been harvested, we checked back in to see how this all panned out.

The lupins were harvested in October to reveal green Lucerne underneath, up to a foot high in the best spots. Jim was pleasantly surprised to find no apparent yield penalty. Jim’s agronomist carried out some preliminary measurements, and they believe the Lucerne remaining in the paddock after harvest would provide a 528Kg/ha of dry matter equivalent. 60-80mls of rain across the farm in October plus the access to sunlight has seen the Lucerne really take off.

Jim has put his ewe lambs into the Lucerne pasture and they are happily eating their way through it. Jim’s next challenge is to work out a weed control program for the remaining paddy melons, which although there were noticeably fewer in the paddocks with an established Lucerne understorey, they are still there. This may take a bit of trial and error in finding what will control the melons without damaging the Lucerne, and so still allowing for further grazing. We will continue to watch this space.

Going forwards there are plans for soil testing in January, and this will allow comparisons of Nitrogen availability between paddocks of straight lupin stubble, and where there was also Lucerne. Jim has been quite impressed with how his trial has gone this year, and plans to replicate and maybe expand this management method in 2022.

Thank you to Jim for taking time during harvest to share these results and his thoughts with us. We look forward to the next instalment!

For more information, please contact our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Annabelle Garratt at Annabelle.Garratt@nacc.com.au or 0448 986 879.

Lizzie King – Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator

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1 comment

An old farmer once told me this;Try spraying melons with molasses & then the sheep will eat them far more tasty.

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