Field days & Workshops
MILLMERRAN INTRODUCTION TO LEUCAENA
Interest in leucaena as a profitable grazing system was high in the Millmerran region as more than 35 graziers attended an Introduction to Leucaena field day at Bill and Nikki Macqueen’s property ‘Murralah’ on Saturday 10th October 2020.
The field day, organised by The Leucaena Network and kindly hosted by the Macqueen family provided attendees with a comprehensive overview of the strategies for successful leucaena establishment and management as well as the opportunity to hear from Bill and Nikki about their leucaena journey and view Murralah’s plantings across different landscapes and establishment times.
The Macqueen family commenced their leucaena plantings in 2009 and currently have 200 ha fully established with an additional 50 ha planted this year and a planned 150 ha of future plantings.
Whilst the Macqueens are pleased to note the additional weight gains they have achieved by incorporating leucaena into their grazing systems, one of the key reasons for introducing leucaena was for its environmental benefits, particularly the improvements to soil health and structure.
“The opportunity to create a diverse pasture that can fix nitrogen and return it back to the soil as well as increasing soil carbon through increased biomass, was one of our key reasons for planting leucaena”, Billy said.
“We have gone a little outside the recommendations for planting leucaena and have actually had good success in planting some of it in shallower topsoil, sloping and rocky country.
“Leucaena has turned some of our marginal cropping country into productive grazing land, allowing us to put more kilos of beef on per hectare whilst improving the quality of our soil.”
The Leucaena Network’s Vice-President Craig Antonio believes days such as the field day at Murralah are essential to provide interested graziers with the right information about how to grow and manage leucaena.
“A key message that came through on the day from Billy was that anyone considering leucaena needs to ensure they have suitable soil and climate and are prepared to undertake the necessary site preparation, are aware of the planting requirements, provide the plant with sufficient establishment time and continue to manage it throughout the years,” Craig said.
“The Network is providing a unique opportunity for potential leucaena graziers to hear the proven theory about establishment leucaena, coupled with the real-life experiences of graziers like Billy and Nikki who provided a very frank and open assessment of their successes and challenges in establishing their leucaena pastures.”
INNISFAIL INTRODUCTION TO LEUCAENA
The Leucaena Network and DAF presented a very informative Introduction to Leucaena workshop at Innisfail on Wednesday October 2020. The workshop provided a prime opportunity not only for many local graziers, but also for those in horticulture and cane who were looking to diversify, to find out the best practice for establishment and management of leucaena. The attendees heard the basics of good leucaena establishment with Craig Lemin of DAF Mareeba and then had the opportunity to hear the first hand successes and challenges of experienced leucaena grazier Brett Blennerhassett whilst Paul Massey shared his plans for leucaena. Erica Hughes of the University of Southern Queensland's Climate Mate program was also on hand to provide an overview of interpreting weather forecasts for better property management. All in all, a very productive morning and thanks to all who attended!
STARBRIGHT FIELD DAY
Interest in Leucaena as a viable grazing system was high in the Charters Towers region as around forty graziers attended an Introduction to Leucaena field day at Starbright Station on Wednesday 13 November 2019.
The field day, organized by The Leucena Network and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) provided attendees with the valuable opportunity to hear from experienced Leucaena producers about their Leucaena journey from the mishaps, the learnings through to the increased weight gains and improved enterprise viability.
Carol Ross of Starbright Station generously offered Starbright as the venue and participants appreciated the opportunity to view Starbright’s best practice established irrigated Leucaena and grazing systems.
Ian Frohloff, Manager of Starbright Station hosted a field walk to view the irrigated Leucaena at the commencement of the day. Ian spoke of the issues currently facing the plantings including the seasonal effect of psyllid (Starbright is considering the psyllid tolerant Redlands variety for future plantings), pasture maintenance and keeping the irrigated Leucaena trimmed to prevent tyre damage to the irrigator.
Ian’s presentation set the scene for Craig Lemin of DAF to provide advice on the key steps for Leucaena establishment and the economic costs and benefits of leucaena. This was followed by the region’s existing Leucaena producers addressing the attendees with their personal experiences with leucaena. The key messages from the workshop were:
Land preparation and planning is essential for successful establishment.
Timing of planting is a key to ensure soil moisture.
Planting depth is critical and dependent upon each paddock’s soil and climate.
Staged planting is recommended – plant only what you can oversee to ensure establishment and once established, move onto the next stage.
Other presenters included Bruce Mayne of Mayne Seeds and Peter Larsen of Leucseeds; Nigel Tomkins of MLA; Lisa Hewitt of ANZ; Bron Christensen of The Leucaena Network; Darcy O’Brien of The Brooke, Charters Towers; DAF’s Bernie English and Vivian Finlay.
The day concluded with a barbecue lunch supplied and cooked by ANZ.