Tropical Grasslands (1982) Volume 16, 146–155

EVALUATION OF INTRODUCED LEGUMES FOR PASTURES IN THE DRY TROPICS OF NORTH QUEENSLAND

P. ANNING

Department of Primary Industries, P.O. Box 149, Mareeba, Qld 4880

Abstract

From a total of 50 different legumes tested in two experiments replicated at four sites north of 17° S latitude, the genus Stylosanthes provided the best adapted and highest yielding species. These were S. guianensis cv. Cook and cv. Endeavour at Merluna, S. hamata cv. Verano at Kalinga and Koolburra, and S. scabra CPI 55868 at Southedge. Of the other genera tested, Macroptilium atropurpureum cv. Siratro was the only line to persist at all sites whereas Centrosema pubescens (common) performed creditably at Merluna and Koolburra, and C. brasilianum CPI 55698 was promising at Southedge.
Nitrogen levels of whole legume tops were above estimated animal maintenance requirements in April and July. However, phosphorus levels in both legumes and native pasture were less than the estimated requirement.
The most successful legumes were still strongly persistent five years after sowing when soil extractable phosphorus had declined to its original low levels.
It is suggested that there is a need for more adapted pasture legumes as replacements for Stylosanthes should this species not remain resistant to new races of anthracnose disease.

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