Resident pasture production vs lucerne on Banks Peninsula

Posted on behalf of Prof. Derrick Moot

A nice problem to have – Matt Iremonger at Willesden Farm on Banks Peninsula is facing a different problem from the summer dry he encounters most years. This years rainfall has flushed lucerne back into production and Matt comments – “ 6500 lambs on 150 ha – stocking rate of 40 lambs/ha and not being able to manage the feed effectively. We have had a few isolated losses of lambs on lush new growth.” 

As part of the Hill Country Futures programme we have been monitoring Matt’s lucerne compared with resident pasture for the last few years and the figure below shows just how productive the lucerne has been – last year in a drought it still produced 3 times the feed of the resident grass based pasture and this year it is on track for a record production year (Data to Dec 2021).  Finding mouths to eat the feed is a more pleasant challenge than finding feed for the mouths that was necessary last year. Matt commented that the extra lucerne growth will allow him to let the sub clover come away on his northern faces – and we are all hoping it gets established rather than gets hit by a Nor-wester inducing a false strike….