Tropical Grasslands (2000) Volume 34, 199206
Legumes in native pasture — asset or liability?
A.D. NOBLE1, D.M. ORR2, C.H. MIDDLETON2 and L.G. ROGERS1
1CSIRO Land and Water, Aitkenvale
The inclusion of Stylosanthes species into 1 M ha of mostly native pastures has had a significant impact on the beef industry in northern Australia. Higher production levels in response to both nutrition of breeding and growing cattle allow producers flexibility in targeting appropriate markets. However, there is recent evidence that legume dominance and its associated impacts on the resource base may have a negative impact on the long-term viability of these production systems. Accelerated soil acidification and nutrient depletion, increased soil erosion and vegetation changes contribute to the potential degradation of this resource through legume dominance in a pasture. Each issue is discussed and solutions based on soil acidity risk mapping and pasture management are presented. The adoption of these strategies will reduce the potential negative impact on the soil resource and sustain productivity.