Dry matter yield of six perennial legume species in response to lime over 3 years at Glenmore Station, Mackenzie Basin
The production and persistence of legumes which may improve South Island high-country pasture in the Mackenzie Basin were studied. The initial soil test results confirmed toxic levels of aluminium (9 mg/kg, 0-150 mm soil depth) that has prevented the development of large areas of land traditionally grazed by merino sheep and beef cattle. A 3-year field experiment was direct-drilled in December 2012 with five rates (0, 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 t/ha) of surface applied lime and six legumes (lucerne, ‘Russell’ lupin, Caucasian clover, white clover, balansa, and Lotus pedunculatus) in three replicates. In Year 1, balansa clover and Russell lupin were the highest yielding legumes (7 t DM/ha), regardless of lime application rates. In Year 2 ‘Russell’ lupin was the highest (10.4 t DM/ha). Caucasian clover produced 4.6 t DM/ha and white clover and lucerne around 4.0 t DM/ha. Balansa clover (1.4 t DM/ha) and Lotus pedunculatus (2.5 t DM/ha) were the lowest yielding and they did not recover or persist after the initial grazing by merino sheep. These results confirmed that ‘Russell’ lupin and Caucasian clover thrived without the application of lime in this acidic soil with high Al levels.
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