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Centre Pivot Trial

Drop tube irrigated lucerne seed, herbage yield and plant persistence trial

By Scott Manser, Trial Sub-Commitee Member (March 2012) 


The five-year (2010-2015) irrigated lucerne seed and plant persistence trial aims to obtain and compare lucerne herbage and seed yield data using the current best practice system of drop tube irrigation. It will determine which lucerne varieties will optimise seed and herbage yield under a drop tube centre pivot irrigation system, therefore increasing the return per mega litre of water. It is supported by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).

We host an in-field trial site field day in February/March annually. This event proves to be particularly useful for those facing the challenging task of selecting varieties. The decision is based on a number of factors with a large component being yield. In years two and three, the crop was showing large differences in podset between the different varieties. Confidence was gained with each of the three replicates showing a relatively consistent pod set. As with most crops under drop tubes, the soil type variations are accentuated. This allows growers to place more emphasis on what they saw in the field along with yield data.

Moisture levels have been adequate through the hot periods of the trial. However there are some areas in the trial that have suffered due to lack of moisture. This is purely due to soil type differences within the site and this is evident throughout the whole pivot. Favourable weather conditions throughout the summer period ensures a good initial pod set.

The trial committee enjoys working with RIRDC, growers, marketers and industry over the life of the trial.

The trial committee and Lucerne Australia would like to thank Cox Rural and the farm manager Joe Sandford for their support and co-operation throughout this project. We would especially like to thanks RIRDC, marketers and industry for their support over the past year and for their ongoing support into the future.



2010 trial site update

Caption: Grower members at a trial site day in 2010.

The first harvest from this trial (2010) has returned results that were very reflective of the season and experienced by most growers in the region. There were very low yields and a significant degree of variation within the trial that is often evident in seedling stands. After studying the harvest data, very little credence can be put on the results due to the low yields from the poor weather conditions.

That said, the trial has now established very well and the trial site committee is keenly looking forward to collaborating more results in the coming seasons.

Adam Desmazures is the Executive Committee member responsible for overseeing this trial on behalf of Lucerne Australia.

Click here to view the 2010 trial results.

Click here to view the 2011 trial results.

Click here to view the 2012 trial results.

Click here to view the 2013 trial results.

Click here to view the final report, completed in 2015.