Tropical Grasslands (1986) Volume 20, 159–165

ANIMAL PRODUCTION IN CENTRAL QUEENSLAND FROM THE AUTUMN–WINTER FORAGE CROPS: LABLAB, MOLOPO BUFFEL GRASS AND ZULU SORGHUM

T.W.G. GRAHAM1, J.H. WILDIN 2, S J. WOOD 3and G.W. BLIGHT 2

1Queensland Department of Primary industries, P.O. Box 201, Biloela, Qld., Australia 4715
2Queensland Department of Primary Industries, P.O. Box 689, Rockhampton, Qld., Australia 4700
3Queensland Department of Primary Industries, P.O. Box 61, Miles, Qld., Australia 4415

Abstract

The liveweight gain of cattle grazing grass pastures in central Queensland declines in autumn as the quality of the pasture deteriorates. The value of autumn grazed forage crops Lablab purpureus cvv. Highworth and Rongai, and hybrid forage sorghum Zulu (Sorghum bicolor × S. sudanense) in improving cattle weights was assessed in two experiments conducted near Theodore in central Queensland. The effect of combining varying proportions of buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris cv. Molopo) and Highworth areas for grazing was also compared.
In two out of three years (1973–75), steers grazing lablab at 1.7 steers ha-1 gained 50–60 kg liveweight during 86 days grazing (March–June). When buffel pasture was combined with Highworth lablab areas in varying proportions, liveweight gains were directly related to the amount of Highworth available in the Highworth/buffel grass pasture but no significant increase resulted when Highworth exceeded 67%.
In the second experiment, comparing whole cropped areas of Highworth or Zulu, both crops averaged 574 g head-1 day-1 liveweight gain over 102 days.
Both lablab and Zulu forage sorghum provide valuable autumn forage. Lablab being a leguminous crop, has the added potential of contributing to soil nitrogen fertility.

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