Douglas Daly Field Day
The Network considers itself very fortunate to be able to work with some of the most forward thinking and industry focussed graziers across Northern Australia and the Network’s Douglas Daly NT Leucaena Field Day hosted by Brett and Suzanne Gill of ‘Malilangwe’ and Logan Reid of Blackbull Station did not disappoint. Brett and Suzanne, and Logan opened up their properties to the field day attendees to profile their leucaena plantings as part of the Network’s Northern Territory Establishment PDS project, supported by MLA.
The Field Day commenced at Malilangwe where Brett provided an honest account of his experiences with leucaena, including issues with lack of predicted rainfall and predation. However, the 30ha trial paddock with 21 ha of leucaena and inter-row pasture of Jarrah grass is a testimony to how leucaena can address the protein drought which affects the majority of the NT grazing industry during the dry season. A light graze of the paddock was undertaken eleven months after planting with 240 heifers for ten days. Since then the paddock has sustained grazes of up to 420 head for periods ranging from ten days to 27 days, with two-week rest periods. The field day attendees visited the paddocks one week after the removal of cattle and despite there being no rain in the intervening period, the leucaena was already sprouting new, sweet growth.
Brett and Suzanne have undertaken their informal live weight gain assessments and have noted an average weight gain of 1.3kg per day, compared to their irrigated jarrah paddocks of 1kg daily live weight gain.
Field Day attendees then progressed to Blackbull Station where Logan Reid presented an overview of the benefits of leucaena in Blackbull’s grazing system, including previous plantings and the Network’s 47ha trial site. Logan believes a key to success with leucaena is good site preparation and staying on top of the weed pressure in the first few weeks of establishment.
Far North Queensland grazier Tom Saunders was also on-hand to provide information on his and his wife Christine’s leucaena journey on Whitewater Station at Mount Surprise. Tom has undertaken a potentially game-changing trial in establishing leucaena in lightly timbered country to value add to land that is unable to be cleared due to Queensland’s vegetation management regulations. Tom noted the challenges of this method of introducing leucaena into uncleared country including the rough terrain, predation, and machinery requirements to address the limited access, and management, however, was also able to share details of the dramatically improved productivity of Whitewater Station since the inclusion of the leucaena plantings.
Local agricultural stakeholders including NT Farmers, NTCA, Territory NRM, and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade were also available to provide an update on their current and forthcoming activities.
DITT kindly hosted the end-of-field-day BBQ at the Douglas Daly Research Farm where the conversations continued!
Many thanks to Brett, Suzanne and Tristan Gill, Logan Reid, and Peter Shotton and the team at DDRF for hosting the day, Tom Saunders for traveling across, all presenters, and all who attended. All in all a great day out!