Ashley Dene – Preparing for spring grazing of lucerne

Here at Lincoln, we are currently getting ready to start grazing lucerne on the Home Block at Ashley Dene. These stands are about 3 years old now (sown Nov 2008) and we are looking at how different spring grazing management is going to impact on how the lucerne yield, persistence and animal liveweight production. The grazing management of ewes with twin lambs at foot is either:

1)      6 paddock rotational grazing throughout the growth season

2)      Set stocked for about the first 10-12 weeks of spring

3)      Semi set stocked where ewes and lambs rotate between two halves of a paddock at giving a 20 day rotation with a 10 day spell for the first 10-12 weeks of spring

In preparation for spring the lucerne had a clean-up graze on 14/6/2012 and on 23/7/2012 Gallant Ultra (520 g/litre haloxyfop-P) was applied at 0.5 L/ha to control twitch. Broadleaf weeds were controlled by spraying with Gramoxone (2 L/ha) and Atrazine (1 kg/ha) on 27/7/2012.

Our target is to start grazing when the lucerne reaches 15-20 cm high. The photo below shows the stands were about 13-14 cm high on 28 Aug.

Lucerne in the Home Block at Ashley Dene on 28 Aug 2012

The photo below was taken on 3 Sept 2012 looking across the grazing experiment. Lucerne is looking healthy, with a good colour and is growing well. At this stage our target is to start grazing on 5 Sept at 14 ewes/ha with twin lambs at foot.

Looking across the grazing experiment on the Home Block at Ashley Dene on 3 Sept 2012