Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Miss Lucy Watt

Miss Lucy Watt

Self-regenerating hard-seeded annual legume pasture species: Understanding their effect on livestock production and health.

Self-regenerating hard-seeded annual legume pasture species: Understanding their effect on livestock production and health.

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This study will deliver comprehensive and valued information on the comparative livestock production performance and livestock health implications of a range of alternative self-regenerating, hard seeded, annual pasture legume species including: biserrula (Biserrula pelecinus), bladder clover (Trifolium spumosum), French serradella (Ornithopus sativus), gland clover (Trifolium glanduliferum) and arrow leaf clover (Trifolium vesiculosum). Their use as monoculture pasture sources present some risks, especially livestock health disorders; however, preliminary investigations have shown significant decreases in gastro-intestinal parasite load in sheep grazing biserrula, but the underlying mechanism(s) are currently unknown. There are no published studies that have investigated the anthelmintic potential among these alternative legume species.

In regards to livestock productivity, there is a paucity of livestock data on these alternative legume species. Intake potential, digestibility, and livestock growth rates at various phenological stages, and baseline livestock data relating to alternative legume species in comparison to traditionally used pasture species are largely unknown. Preliminary studies have shown production benefits in liveweight gain in lambs grazing mixed plots of biserrula and subterranean clover compared to pure biserrula swards, which appeared to be related to differences in in vivo digestibility and intake; however this requires further investigation.

Establishing a foundation by which producers benefit from the livestock productivity and health potential from such species, while managing the risks, is important for the on-farm adoption of such species.

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University Research Centre (URC) Graham Centre Scholarship, Meat & Livestock Australia

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