[5 October/Stuff]

Legumes are emerging as an opportunity to drive production, particularly in dryland and hill country environments. Having nodules on their roots that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria, they can use water efficiently and are becoming increasingly important as the environmentally friendly way of introducing nitrogen to pastures. Research trials have focused on the management of legumes to maximise productivity. The Beef and Lamb New Zealand Innovation Farm project had been running for four years and trialled the application of sprays to increase the legume content of the grassy surface on paddocks. They wanted to find the optimal spray method and legume pasture mix to improve quantity and quality of their pastures. The Craw’s were in charge of the project, and Ms Craw said four years on, it had evolved from its initial focus on what spray to use, to how to manage grazing so that remaining sub-clovers were allowed to multiply seed, germinate, and establish.