Experienced leucaena growers Bruce and Lucinda Mayne well know the improved cattle live weight gains able to be achieved from the feed in the Carnarvon region of Central Queensland.
That is why they are now excited to be able to demonstrate the weight gains that could be achieved by cattle in coastal conditions, through a new grazing trial at 'Fairview' Calliope.
Three graziers from the region have provided a total of one hundred weaner steers, of which 80 will be grazed on Fairview's Redlands leucaena plantings for a period of 12 months. Redlands is a newer psylid-tolerant leucaena variety bred for coastal areas. The leucaena has inter-row pastures of Signal grass. The remaining 20 head will be run for 12 months on mainly native grass pastures and seca stylo with hymanacne available around a large lagoon. Cattle on the grass-only pastures will be supplemented with dry season protein.
Cattle for the trial were generously provided by Ed and Kara Quinn of 'Voewood'; Phillip and Clare Mann of 'Wycheproof' and Will and Kate Wilson of 'Calliope Station'.
With the assistance of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Trent McKinlay of McKinlay Cattle and Land, Zoetis, Virbac and Nutrien Ag Solutions, agronomist Ross Newman and The Leucaena Network, the trial will compare live weight gains every eight weeks during the coming dry season until October and then monthly during the growing season from November to May.
Feed availability, diet quality and the balance of leucaena and pasture consumed will be assessed periodically throughout the trial.
Bruce Mayne believes the trial will showcase the potential weight gains of cattle in an area that was not previously suitable for leucaena.
"Redlands really has been a game-changer for the grazing industry in northern coastal areas," he said.
"Previously leucaena planted in coastal areas with high humidity and higher rainfall would have been periodically decimated by psylids, greatly reducing the feed available to cattle and the viability and profitability of the plantings.
"The Redlands variety has opened up vast areas to incorporating leucaena in grazing systems across Northern Australia however we are only just starting to get some data on how coastal raised cattle will do on leucaena in these coastal conditions, particularly those here in Central Queensland."
Bandana in the Carnarvon region has been able to regularly achieve weight gains of over 250kg per annum and Mr Mayne is very hopeful that those weight gains will be reflected in this trial.
"We have a range of cattle breeds, from different graziers taking part in the trial and the 'control' mob of 20 head that will graze on the standard, coastal pastures for comparison," he said.
The information from the trial will add to live weight gain trial data from ongoing MLA/DAF trials at Pinnarendi Station in north Queensland and an MLA/The Leucaena Network trial across three north Australian sites including the Northern Territory's DPIR's Douglas Daly Research Farm.
The Fairview trial will conclude with the sale of the cattle at the CQLX 2021 Special Weaner and Feeder Sale in June 2021.
Ongoing results of the trial will be presented at field days at 'Fairview' in the latter half of 2020 and prior to the finalisation of the trial.
The story New leucaena trial looks at weight gains on the coast first appeared on Farm Online.