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.