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Tips & Tools How to grow better Tagasaste


Tips & Tools How to grow better Tagasaste

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									                                                                                                                                 No. 16/99

                                            Tips & Tools            for Sustainable Grazing Systems

      How to grow better Tagasaste
   These seasonal        SEASON             TACTICS
  guidelines are for
established tagasaste    Autumn             s Fertilise tagasaste with phosphorus (P) and sulphur (S) at approximately
plantations growing                          120-200kg/ha (depending on previous fertiliser history).
 on deep sandy soils     FERTILISE
     in temperate                           Cattle
Australia. Guidelines                       s Manage grazing to keep plants less than 1.5m in height. This will prevent
are based on results                         flowering in spring and improve plant palatability. Cut plants (if needed) to
 of research projects
funded by the Meat
                                             achieve 1.5m. Livestock numbers should be manipulated with changes in
& Livestock Australia,                       plant growth.
Martindale Research      ROTATE             s OR ROTATIONALLY GRAZE at up to 10 cattle/ha for four weeks to
Project, International                       remove stem, and then defer grazing to allow 10cm of new stem growth.
Wool Secretariat and
producer experience.                        s Protein/energy supplements may be required for weight gain and calving.
                         GRAZING             Feed out hay if cattle completely defoliate any tagasaste trees.
                                            s Cut tagasaste to 1.5m (if needed) after two weeks of grazing.
                                            Sheep - autumn feed gap grazing:

                                            s High density grazing (approximately 100 dse/ha). Graze for two to three
                                             weeks until a graze line is established.
                         GRAZING            s If required, cut plants to 50-70cm to allow sheep to graze any remaining leaf.
                                            s Graze until all cut leaf is consumed but ensure no bark stripping occurs.
                                             Defer grazing after about six weeks to avoid bark stripping.
                                            s A protein/energy supplement may be required in the last two weeks of
                         ROTATE             s OR ROTATIONALLY GRAZE tagasaste for four weeks (or until all leaf is
                                             consumed) and then defer grazing to allow 10cm of new stem growth. This
                                             will encourage emerging annual pastures to establish.

                         Winter             s If severe frosts are expected, only graze the new autumn growth over win-
                                             ter as plant deaths may occur.
                           SET              Cattle
                                            s Feed protein/energy supplements for two to three weeks after the season
                                             break. Livestock numbers should be manipulated with changes in plant
                         STOCKING            growth.
                                            Caution: tagasaste ‘staggers’ may occur in early winter. If this condition develops, feed stock good
                                            quality hay and do not muster or yard.
                         ROTATE             Cattle and sheep
                                            s Only graze after 10cm of new stem growth. This may not occur until spring
                                             after a late break.

                         Spring             s Keep plants below 1.5m in height
                           SET              Cattle
                                            s Set stock to keep plantation below 1.5m. Manipulate stock density or cut
                                             plants (if needed) to achieve 1.5m and prevent flowering ☛ continued over
  DEFER            ☛ continued from previous page
                   s Defer grazing when annual pasture is haying off.
                   s Defer grazing tagasaste until new growth has stems of at least 10cm.
                   s Graze sheep for four weeks and then defer grazing until 10cm stem regrowth is available for the next
GRAZING            s Defer grazing at pasture haying-off to allow regrowth.

Summer             Cattle
 DEFER             s If set stocking monitor cattle liveweight and start feeding protein/energy supplements if required
                    to maintain desired weight gain.
                   s If rotationally grazing take tagasaste down to 1.5m in height (or for around four to six weeks). After
GRAZING             this time, defer grazing until autumn. Again, stock may require protein/energy supplements for
ROTATE              weight gain.
                   s Graze once for about four weeks (or until a graze line is established) then defer grazing until autumn.

         Plant Facts                                 lar total annual live weight gains.
                                                     Rotational grazing generally pro-
                                                                                                         and early summer and up to
                                                                                                         0.8kg/hd/day is not uncommon
q Tagasaste (or tree lucerne) is a                   vides better management flexibili-                  in late summer and autumn.
 deep-rooted, perennial, legumi-                     ty and allows strategic plant use                  q In autumn, fertilise to maintain a
 nous, fodder shrub suitable for                     when other pasture feed sources                     plant tissue P concentration of
 growth on well drained soils. It is a               are poor.                                           >0.32mg/kg in spring. Tissue-test
 strategic feed source during dry                   q Maintain stocking rates to prevent                 tagasaste samples in spring to
 months or when annual pasture is                    flowering. If tagasaste flowers,                    ensure rates are adequate - soil
 of poor feed value and can be use-                  production will be decreased by as                  testing is not an accurate indica-
 ful for soil erosion control and sta-               much as 50%, bark stripping by                      tion of requirements as a tagasaste
 bilising water tables.                              sheep will increase and leaf drop                   shrubs have a deep root system
q Growth rates are determined by                     may occur. To prevent flowering,                    that can tap minerals deep within
 soil fertility and moisture. Fertilise              graze or cut tagasaste to less than                 the soil profile. Pluck 10 shoots
 with phosphorous, sulphur and                       1.5m before spring.                                 (about 10cm in length) from at
 manganese to optimise plant                        q Tagasaste will need to be cut every                least 20 individual shrubs for tis-
 growth - manganese will be                          one to three years if grazed by                     sue testing.
 required in some locations as indi-                 sheep and every three to five years                q If blue lupins have been sown
 cated by tissue testing. Potash is                  when grazed by cattle (depending                    between tagasaste rows, monitor
 thought to increase tagasaste                       on available grazing pressure).                     grazing stock for alkaloid poison-
 palatability and may also be bene-                 q Cutting tagasaste in summer and                    ing (staggers and fitting) once
 ficial.                                             autumn increases palatability of                    lupins are in pod. If poisoning
q Higher plant production will be                    cut material. Do not cut tagasaste                  occurs, move stock slowly out of
 achieved on perched (raised)                        when either severe frost or severe                  the paddock and defer grazing
 water tables and with significant                   insect attack is expected. This may                 until pods have shattered. Also
 summer rainfall events (>20mm).                     kill the plant.                                     monitor for lupinosis in summer
q Insect attack on tagasaste pro-                   q Plantations can normally only be                   (weight loss and jaundice).
 duces a tannin-like compound that                   rotationally grazed by sheep for                   q Grazing tagasaste under drought
 reduces protein and digestibility                   periods of less than six weeks                      conditions is unlikely to kill the
 levels.                                             before deferring grazing. Sheep                     plant - however a roughage sup-
q Tagasaste is very drought tolerant                 allowed to graze for longer will                    plement such as hay is recom-
 when grown on deep, free-drain-                     often bark strip which can kill                     mended to prevent complete defo-
 ing soils. However under moisture                   plants. Good management, follow-                    liation of the tagasaste and a pro-
                                                     ing the above guidelines, will pro-                 tein/energy supplement will be
 stress the shrub has low palatabili-
                                                     mote multi-stemmed rather than                      needed to maintain livestock
 ty, reduced crude protein and poor                                                                      weight.
 metabolisable energy levels.                        single-stemmed shrubs, resulting
                                                     in increased grazing periods.
q Under severe moisture stress                                                                                      For assistance:
                                                    q Tagasaste can be used as the
 tagasaste may drop leaves, but                                                                                 Contact you local pasture
                                                     roughage component of a finish-
 will rarely die.                                                                                                 or livestock adviser.
                                                     ing ration for cattle by feeding
Management tips                                      stock 1% of body weight in
                                                     lupins/day        while     grazing                  A   C K N O W L E D G M E N T S

q Tagasaste persists under both set                  tagasaste. Cattle growth rates                      M. Seymour, C. Oldham & T.
 stocking or rotational grazing with                 equivalent to feedlot rations are                   Lefroy, Agriculture WA
 cattle. Both systems produce simi-                  achievable in late winter, spring

Disclaimer: Every attempt has been made to include information that will benefit beef and sheep producers in southern Australia. Meat and Livestock
Australia Limited and authors accept no responsibility for action taken as a result of the information contained. Readers are strongly advised to contact
the specialists listed for more detailed instruction or further information.

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