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Dry Fails to Stall Lucerne Growth

Lucerne and Chicory plantings at Ken Mutton's demonstration paddock are performing well.
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Sustainable Industries

Despite four months without rain the Lucerne plantings at Ken Mutton’s Wickepin farm have gone from strength to strength since our last check.

By February, the tallest Lucerne plants had grown to 500mm, with an average height of 200-400mm, ready for a second grazing by cattle after a short graze in September.

The perennial legume, known by the scientific name of Medicago sativa, is resilient and deep-rooted.

Typically found in irrigated agriculture in the South West, Wheatbelt NRM’s Sustainable Industries team has been pleasantly surprised with the progress since our last update in November.

The 20ha trial site was seeded with 4kg per hectare of Lucerne and 0.5kg/ha of Chicory in June 2020.

The biomass of Ken’s chicory planting has also improved, with the biomass and ground cover on Ken’s trial paddock increasing by an estimated 40 per cent since our last visit despite his property’s dry summer.

Ken’s Fieldhouse Droughtmaster Stud property is a demonstration farm in our Optimising Fodder Options in Mixed Farming Systems project.

He will be speaking about his progress at an event hosted by Wheatbelt NRM on March 23.

To register email Bonny Dunlop-Heague at bdunlop@wheatbeltnrm.org.au.

This project is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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