Press
Release
Agricote

Quick contact

Name:

Username:

Name:

Email:

Number:

Products:

Provinces:


Lucerne (Medicago sativa)

  • Description :
    • A deep rooted perennial legume often referred to as “the queen of forage” crops.
  • Climate :
    • Subtropical
  • Moisture Requirements :
    • 400mm + per annum / irrigation
  • Soil Preference
    • Deep well drained soils with 0% acid saturation and a pH (KCL) of 5.5 – 6.5 is recommended.
  • Sowing Rate
    • Rows :
      • 0.9m wide : 5kg / ha where rainfall is < 500mm / pa
      • 0.25m wide : 10 – 15 kg/ha where rainfall is > 500 mm / pa
    • Broadcast : 25kg / ha (irrigation)
  • Planting Time :
    • September – March
  • Planting Method :
    • Establish on a firm, fine seed bed from early September through to June.
    • This depends on weed pressure and the possible occurrence of frost.
    • March – June is applicable to the winter rainfall areas.
    • Seed must be inoculated with the correct bacteria before planting.
  • Management :
    • Depends upon the type of cultivar with specific reference to its dormancy rating.
    • A dormancy rating of 1 = strongly dormant during winter
    • A dormancy rating of 10 = winter active or non-dormant.
    • In the RSA the following dormancy classes are most suitable :
      • 5 = semi-dormant
      • 6 & 7 = intermediate dormancy
      • 8 = non-dormant
      • 9 = strongly non-dormant
    • The dormant types have a longer production period and are more suited for grazing whereas the non-dormant types have shorter production periods and are more suited for hay production.
    • When grazing lucerne it is advisable to allow for periods of rest otherwise loss of vigour and particularly leaf loss during periods of drought result in a drastic reduction in its longevity.
    • Periods of rest enhance the sink source relationship of the plant.
    • Where lucerne is produced intensively particularly for hay purposes, the time of cutting is critical.
    • The 10% flowering stage should not be used as an indicator but rather the extent of the new growth from the base or the crown of the plant.
    • This should not exceed 1cm in length.
    • The removal of this new growth affects the time of cutting and yield of the next crop.
    • Repeated cutting of these new shoots reduces both the yield and longevity of lucerne.\
    • Requires large quantities of nutrients.
    • A soil analysis before establishment is essential.
    • An analysis should provide the following nutrient status of the soil (this is a general guideline only) :
      • Ca :
        • > 350 ppm – sandy soils
        • > 750 ppm – clay soil types
      • Mg > 60 ppm
      • P :20 – 30 ppm (30 ppm + for irrigation)
      • K : 150 + ppm
      • Mo : spray 200g / ha of sodium molybdate on established Lucerne after cutting.
      • This should be sufficient for several years.
      • Bo : apply 1 – 3 kg/ha of solubor every 3 – 4 years
      • Lucerne removes approx. 3kg P/ton of hay
      • Lucerne removes approx. 15 – 25 kg of K/ton of hay
  • Advantages
    • 15 – 25 tons/ha DM per season
    • 4 – 10 cuttings per season – depends on management, climate and cultivar
    • 18 – 20% CP content
    • High digestibility
    • TDN : 50 – 60%
    • Grazing capacity : 8 – 15 sheep / ha
  • Limitations
    • An expensive crop if not managed properly
    • Danger of bloat
    • Leaf loss is problematic if not managed correctly
 
AGT Foods
Alliance Grain Traders Directory