Tropical Grasslands (1989) Volume 23, 153–161

LEGUMES FOR HEAVY GRAZING IN COASTAL SUBTROPICAL AUSTRALIA

D.G. CAMERON1, R.M. JONES2, G.P.M. WILSON3, H.G.BISHOP4, B.G. COOK5, THE LATE G.R. LEE6 and K.F. LOWE7

1Formerly Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QDPI), Box 46, GPO Brisbane (Present address: 15 Tin Can Bay Rd., Goomboorian, Gympie, 4570).
2CSIRO Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures, 306 Carmody Rd., St Lucia, 4067.
3Department of Agriculture, N.S.W_ Agricultural Research and Advisory Station, Grafton, 2460.
4QDPI, Box 668, Mackay, 4740.
5QDPI, Box 395, Gympie, 4570.
6Formerly QDPI, Box 1143, Bundaberg, 4670.

Abstract

From 34 to 42 tropical and subtropical legumes were screened for their ability to persist under heavy grazing on the east coast of Australia at 9 sites from latitude 21°S to 29°S. The legume seed was sown into cultivated strips in existing grassland which grew back into the strips. The most persistent commercial species were usually Aeschynomene falcata cv. Bargoo, Trifolium semipilosum cv. Safari, Arachis pintoi cv. Amarillo and Lotononis bainesii cv. Miles, although Miles was only rated highly in the sites with more open grass swards. Some species did well at only one or two sites, notably Stylosanthes scabra cv. Seca, S. hamata cv. Verano and Aeschynomene americana cv. Glenn at Proserpine, and Vigna parkeri cv. Shaw at Gympie and a moist site at Grafton. Of the accessions not commercially available, Desmodium canum CPI 37436 persisted well although productivity was rated poorly, perennial Arachis sp. CPI 12121 persisted well although it was slow to establish, and Zornia curvata CPI 38221 showed promise. A smaller range of cool season species was established at four of the more southern sites (latitude 26°S to 29°S). White clover, which is naturalised throughout this area, was the most successful species. The advantages and limitations of this method of evaluation are discussed.

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