AgMemo - Livestock news, April 2018

Page last updated: Thursday, 12 April 2018 - 2:48pm

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Sterile leucaena project benefits from workshop contributors

Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development senior research officers Clinton Revell, front row on left, and Daniel Real, second row on right, showed participants at the recent leucaena breeding and development workshop differences in leucaena variety growth in the glasshouse.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is currently researching the development of a sterile forage leucaena variety to support the state’s northern beef industry, with support from the MLA Donor Company.

Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) is used as a high-value forage in the northern cattle industry in Queensland but is currently not approved for use on pastoral leasehold land in Western Australia due to its risk of becoming a weed.

Department researchers invited local and national leucaena industry representatives, pastoralists and leucaena researchers and breeders from around the world to contribute to a sterile leucaena breeding and development workshop in South Perth in mid-December.

The workshop highlighted the importance of developing sterile leucaena and its applications in WA, and how to address and overcome potential hurdles regarding the adoption and creation of a sterile leucaena.

The workshop also informed and engaged key WA and Australian stakeholders in the project.

The input of workshop contributors, including pastoralists, industry, and leucaena breeders and scientists was effective in reducing the overall project time and consolidating issues such as variety adoption.

Some of the attendees included Executive Officer of Australia’s Leucaena Network Bron Christenson, New Mexico State University associate Professor Donovan Bailey, and University of Queensland associate Professor Max Shelton..

General feedback from attendees was the workshop demonstrated an excellent initiative to bring together researchers throughout the world, including institutions, growers and industry representatives.

The project gained combined perspective and experience provided by plant breeders, legume biologists, genome biologists, and cattle ranchers that greatly expanded the range of possible approaches for deploying leucaena into WA.

Leucaena is flagged as being beneficial to the industry as it is so productive, it fattens cattle quickly, opens up a variety of market options, increases stocking rate, and most importantly, can be very profitable.

Department senior research officers Clinton Revell and Daniel Real organised and facilitated the successful workshop.

For more information contact Clinton Revell, Senior Research Officer, South Perth, +61(0)8 9368 3596.