Publication details

The publication Lucerne Management Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) in Australia offers insight into the importance and management of this perennial legume species in Australian growing conditions. The primary author, Lisa Castleman B.Agr.Sc, is an agronomist who values the extension of knowledge and applied learning among the agricultural community.

This multi-touch ebook aims to improve the understanding of the needs of the lucerne plant, whether in a stand of lucerne or in a mixed pasture. Landholders and farm advisors are offered the opportunity to better harness lucerne as a powerhouse of quality feed and increased soil Nitrogen. Lucerne is a pasture legume and a lucerne phase has enduring benefits for improved soil fertility, and better yielding cereal crops and grass pastures which follow. In the productive but highly variable region known as the Riverina, where the author resides and works, the capacity and resilience of a pasture legume such as lucerne has been evident for decades. In the quest for a greater understanding of the lucerne plant itself, the author took a number of road trips extending from Victoria, across NSW and into Queensland where lucerne-growers shared their stories and experience.

The lucerne plant has an important role in dryland and irrigated farming systems across the diverse landscapes which make up Australia. Growing conditions are challenging on an island continent which is prone to bushfire, drought, floods, frost and pests. Lucerne however is suitable for a great many growing regions in Australia across temperate, Mediterranean and sub-tropical climates. Lucerne is highly adaptable and versatile, but also has vulnerabilities. Management of a lucerne stand is considered on a broadacre scale and this publication discusses suitable soil types, soil constraints and soil health, the management of challenges from pests, weeds and disease, pasture establishment and pasture management. Agronomic advice is offered alongside farming experiences by experienced lucerne-growers. Together this combination of knowledge and understanding tells a story about how to grow and manage lucerne successfully.

This contemporary ebook on Lucerne management is written for a target audience including existing and prospective lucerne-growers, livestock producers of sheep and cattle, mixed farmers, wheat-growers and other winter-croppers, agronomists and farm advisors, landholders in general, students of agricultural science and natural resource management, weed officers, and owners of small and large acreages looking to establish a green buffer zone around homesteads and farm infrastructure to reduce the risk from bushfires.

Table of contents

Foreword

  1. Introducing Lucerne
    1. The history of lucerne
    2. Agronomy for lucerne
    3. Economic importance of lucerne
    4. Case Study 2: Hay production and mixed lucerne pastures for sheep
  2. Farming Systems
    1. Farming systems
    2. Lucerne as an invasive or noxious weeds tool
    3. Case Study 2: Lucerne seed production
  3. Establishing Lucerne
    1. Planning and preparing for lucerne
    2. Establishing lucerne
    3. Lucerne varieties and selection
    4. Case Study 3: Lucerne in a sub-tropical pasture mix for grazing by cattle
    5. Case Study 4: Lucerne for hay production
    6. Further reading
  4. Lucerne Management
    1. Insect pests
    2. Diseases of lucerne
    3. Weed control
    4. Fertilisers for lucerne
    5. Case Study 5: Lucerne hay for the horse industry
  5. Management practices in the paddock
    1. Management practices
    2. Case Study 6: Lucerne hay and lucerne chaff production
    3. Case Study 7: Lucerne for dairy cattle

Title Lucerne Management
Pages 170  
ISBN 9781760584375  
Catalogue number  
Year published 2021        
Publisher NSW Department of Primary Industries  
Price$9.99 AUD (inc GST)

Lisa Castleman, Jessica Green and Rob Wilson



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