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Red Leaf Subclover Syndrome in WA

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Sustainable Industries

Following feedback delivered through the Western Australian Livestock Research Council (WALRC), Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has been made aware of a serious issue across southern Western Australia, concerning the spread of Red Leaf Subclover Syndrome. MLA, together with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), is looking to take action and  subsequently is seeking assistance from producers who have experienced this.

In recent months, producers have raised increasing concerns after observing subclover leaves turning red, following which the plants die. Red Leaf Subclover Syndrome has been reported in the Esperance region for a number of years, however, following the recent dry winter, producers have communicated that it has significantly spread. To better understand the extent of the syndrome, as well as to provide researchers with more information in order to identify short and long term solutions, MLA and AWI have developed a survey to enable producers to share their experiences. MLA and AWI are bringing together a cross-disciplinary group of researchers, pasture agronomists and extension experts to assist producers in how to best manage their pasture.

While MLA and AWI continue to invest in the development of novel Legumes such as Biserrula and Serradella, there is an acknowledgement that subclover is an important basis for any pasture system and without functioning legumes, pastures significantly lose productivity and cannot sustain current livestock production. Up to 13 million hectares of pasture in South Western Australia include subclover. 

Feedback from producers on the issue will assist in understanding the spread of the problem to enable short and long term strategies to be developed. MLA acknowledges the level of concern amongst producers about the spread of Red Leaf Subclover Syndrome and if you have experienced the problem then we want to hear from you.

Producers in southern Western Australia experiencing issues with their subclover pasture, and willing to assist MLA and AWI, are invited to click here and participate in the survey.

For more information please call Irene Sobotta on 02 9463 9249 or email

Picture courtesy of the University of Western Australia)