10 Tips for Leucaena Establishment
Comply With the Code of Practice
The Leucaena Best Management Code of Practice provides guidelines to minimize the risk of Leucaena spreading outside of where it is planted while maximizing beef production potential.
Carefully Select Your Variety
Existing varieties are Redlands, Wondergraze, Cunningham and Tarramba. Each variety has characteristics that make it the most suitable for certain situations and climates.
Know Your Soil - Soil Testing
Leucaena will grow in a wide range of soils but is most productive in fertile, deep and well-drained soils. It’s imperative to soil test paddocks selected for leucaena production prior to sowing to ensure adequate soil nutrient supply.
Location, Location, Location
Situate your leucaena on deep soils in frost free areas, avoiding cold hollows or flats that regularly frost.
Ensure Your Climate is Suitable
Although established leucaena can tolerate extended dry spells and droughts, the plant performs best in tropical climates with hot wet summers and mild winters with an average rainfall above 600mm.
Establishment Technique is Critical
The right planting time and adequate soil moisture are critical for reliable Leucaena establishment. Plant as early as possible between Sept & Mar (depending on winter temperatures and frost potential), but only when there is at least 60-90cm of sub-soil moisture. The correct planting depth for individual soil types and situations is critical.
Seed must be inoculated with a Rhizobium bacteria immediately before planting to enable efficient nitrogen fixation. Exposure to excessive heat will kill the Rhizobium bacteria.
Observe Row Spacing
Suggested row spacings are between 6 and 12m, depending on soil type, rainfall (or irrigation), climate and the grass: Leucaena forage balance required. Row spacing is individual to each situation. Planting twin rows (as opposed to single) can ensure a hedge if one row doesn’t come up.
The Right Companion Grass
Companion grass is required for sustainable Leucaena plantings and for maximum grazing benefit. A productive companion grass provides a balanced diet for cattle to maximize weight gain, utilises the excess Nitrogen produced by the Leucaena, & provides ground cover to minimise stray Leucaena seedlings & other weeds reducing runoff and erosion.
Do Not Rush Preparation
Successfully establishing Leucaena takes significant time and effort. Re-sowing a paddock because preparation was rushed is very costly. Do it properly the first time and Leucaena will repay handsomely year in, year out for more than 30 years.