Pasture species

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is a world leader in the development of new pasture legumes and provides information and advice to assist farmers in making appropriate species and cultivar decisions.

The choice of pasture species is important to maximise the productivity and profitability of Western Australian farms. A wide range of grasses and legumes are available for rain-fed and irrigated production systems. Legume species in particular are valued for their high quality feeding value and ability to improve soil fertility through nitrogen fixation. The selection of which pasture species to grow is based on climate, soil conditions and feed demand as determined by the type of livestock and cropping system you have.

Pastures in the south-west of Western Australia are typically dominated by annual species, particularly annual ryegrass and subterranean clover, with a range of alternative legume species such as serradella and biserrula now developed for specific niches. In some situations perennial pastures (plants that live for more than two years) such as lucerne, warm season grasses and fodder shrubs can improve production, protect natural resources and build the capacity of farming systems to adapt to future production and environmental challenges.

Articles

  • Lanza® is a herbaceous drought tolerant perennial pasture legume that is ideal for Mediterranean environments.

  • The Northern Beef Development program aims to support the Western Australian northern beef industry to become more profitable, resilient, and sustainable.

  • Isolated cases of photosensitisation have occurred in sheep grazing both Casbah and Mauro biserrula throughout the wheatbelt.

  • Traditionally, agriculture in the Western Australian rangelands has predominantly relied on grazing stock on native vegetation, with some irrigation precincts around Carnarvon and on the Ord River

  • Hard spinifex hill pastures are one of the many pasture types in the pastoral rangelands in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

  • Sothis is the first cultivar of eastern star clover (Trifolium dasyurum). It germinates very late in the season, up to six weeks after the break.

  • Cultivars of French serradella (Eliza, Cadiz, Erica and Margurita) and yellow serradella (Charano, Santorini and Yelbini) have been developed with the aim of reducing the cost of seed production.

  • Prima is the first cultivar of gland clover to be released in Australia.

  • Biserrula is a persistent pasture legumes for Mediterranean farming systems. Biserrula has hard seed, a deep root system and a high level of grazing tolerance.

  • French serradella is an annual pasture legume with three cultivars suited to Mediterranean climatic zones of Australia. Cadiz and Eliza are soft seeded while Margurita and Erica are hard seeded.

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