Farmers on mallee soils have a new pasture legume at their disposal — and given its early field performance, so do growers in other districts.
According to Andrew Lake and Jake Howie of the SA Research and Development Institute, the new medic release Herald is proving to be more adaptable than originally envisaged.
They said Herald, which originated from the GRDC-supported National Annual Medic Improvement Program (NAMIP), was initially targeted for mallee soil districts such as those in SA, Victoria and WA, where legume options (pasture and grain) have been limited.
However, in the seed build-up and early commercial release phase, reports came in of good herbage and seed production not only in these areas, but also in the heavier soils of the Victorian Wimmera and SA's midnorth.
Mr Lake and M r Howie are very enthusiastic about this new strand medic, which is jointly licensed to Revell Seeds Pty Ltd and Heritage Seeds Pty Ltd, saying that apart from its adaptability it:
- has aphid resistance second to none, including some resistance to cowpea aphid which is having an impact in the older medics and pulses
- is a big yielder with 15 to 20 per cent more seed produced on average than the variety it will succeed, Harbinger AR. Higher seed production is linked with more herbage, better persistence and more nitrogen fixation
- is recommended for neutral or alkaline sands and loams in 275-450 mm average rainfall areas
- has a hard seed profile similar to Harbinger which provides both early and longer-term regeneration capability. Accordingly it is likely to be suited to intensive cereal rotations or those involving a pasture phase of two or more years.
Other promising lines being targeted for commercialisation include a disc medic for really coarse sands and several burr medics, one being a softer-seeded replacement for Santiago for use in phase pastures.
Program 3.6.1 Contact: Mr Andrew Lake 08 8303 9429; Mr Jake Howie 08 8303 9407
How Herald compares
| Harbinger||Harbinger AR||Herald|
|Spotted alfalfa aphid||VS||R||R|
|Days to flowering||81||85||81|
R resistant MR moderately resistant LR low resistance VS very susceptible
RIGHT: The head of the National Annual Medic Improvement Program, Andrew Lake (right), with Blyth SA farmer Kevin Jaeschke, in a seed build-up paddock of Herald.