Graziers in far north Queensland will get a front row seat to trials of a new variety of psyllid resistant leucaena at a field day on May 24.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) has established leucaena trial sites to identify potential productivity gains and demonstrate establishment techniques in the region.
“Leucaena is a valuable, highly productive feed source that can add enormous value to grass pastures,” DAF research officer Craig Lemin said.
“Leucaena can provide significant benefits to northern beef producers by doubling annual liveweight gains and reducing age of turnoff.
“Part of its value is that the tree-sized legume can take nitrogen out of the air and add nitrogen to soil to improve its growth and that of surrounding pastures.
“However adoption rates of leucaena are low due to high establishment costs and because existing varieties are susceptible to psyllid attack, particularly in north Queensland.”
Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and the University of Queensland have released a new insect (psyllid) resistant variety known as Redlands, which potentially can improve the productivity of the plant.
Beef producers are invited to attend a field day showcasing the promising new Redlands variety at Whitewater and Pinnarendi Stations, Mount Surprise, on May 24 from 8am.
The field day will introduce producers to the new variety, detail results from psyllid and palatability studies, discuss the costs of establishing leucaena in the north and enable visitors to view demonstration sites.
A demonstration site at Whitewater was established in 2013 on timbered basalt country with the aim of improving industry understanding of establishment costs, establishment options, management requirements and potential productivity-profitability gains.
A one hectare research site was also established on Whitewater to compare the relative palatability of psyllid resistant breeding lines with existing commercial varieties.
Leucaena is now established through existing native trees on a 40 hectare site at Whitewater.
The property also has a third evaluation site dedicated to other legume and grass pasture species.
“This is part of a wider DAF-MLA project evaluating promising pasture species across twelve sites in central and northern Queensland,” Mr Lemin said.
“As well, producers will be able to visit the 60 hectare grazing trial at Pinnarendi where the productivity of the newly released psyllid resistant Leucaena variety (Redlands) is being compared to the existing commercial variety Wondergraze.”
Those wishing to attend should contact Craig Lemin on firstname.lastname@example.org