Interest in leucaena trial

A FIELD tour to inspect the benefits of deep-ripping shallow forest country soil to promote the establishment and growth of leucaena is sure to generate strong interest among attendees at The Leucaena Network's 10th anniversary conference.

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) senior pasture agronomist Stuart Buck, Biloela, will present the results of the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)-funded trial at the two-day forum to be held at the Biloela Anzac Memorial Club, from September 30 to October 1.

Mr Buck said the Producer Demonstration Site (PDS) trial was designed to investigate potential production benefits and the economics of deep-ripping forest loam and deep brigalow clay soils prior to planting leucaena-based pasture.

In conjunction with trial co-operator and CQ BEEF Biloela Group producer member Stuart Barrett, Drumburle, Thangool, leucaena plant establishment on the two deep-ripped versus non-ripped soil types was compared and biomass growth was cut and assessed at six and 12-month intervals.

Mr Buck teamed with Fitzroy Basin Association field officer Joe O'Reagain to record the dry matter production trial data presented at the conference before the field inspection.

Mr Barrett believes that with conservative pasture spelling and a build-up of soil nitrogen from the high protein leucaena legume, he expects to achieve the industry forecast of 125kg of beef per hectare.

This translates to upwards of $180/ha based on a $1.50/kg liveweight market for his turn-off of 18-24 month steers and heifers for his paddock sale clientele.

The Leucaena Network, which supports more than 130 members, welcomes all interested persons to register for the conference where a wealth of up-to-date practical and theoretical information will be presented by researchers, extension providers and regional leucaena producers.

Mr Buck, who leads the DEEDI-funded “Accelerated adoption of leucaena” project, said it was imperative for all landholders to follow the industry-backed Code of Conduct promoted by The Leucaena Network to ensure leucaena did not become an environmental weed.

Rockhampton-based DEEDI ruminant nutritionist Dr Maree Bowen will present the findings of the MLA and DEEDI co-funded High-Output Forage project that examined the relative profitability of various forage options for finishing cattle in Central and Southern Queensland.

Dr Bowen said that leucaena-grass pasture was a standout performer at each of the three case study sites examined in the Fitzroy River catchment.

Fellow DEEDI Agri-Science Queensland principal scientist and ruminant nutritionist, Dr Rob Dixon, Rockhampton, will address the nutrition management of cattle grazing leucaena pastures to make best use of these pastures to achieve high growth rates.

Full details, bookings and accommodation can be found at www.leucaena.net/conference.htm or contact Kevin Graham on 0418 411 351.



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