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How to get more from your Lucerne

Lucerne is a versatile crop. With adequate soil moisture, it provides good grazing and feed quality. With spring in the air, it’s time to start planning, whether it be for hay and/or seed production.

The first key step is understanding your soil nutrient status. A soil test is a low-cost and highly effective management tool that will identify impediments to your production goals.

Irrigated lucerne and paddocks targeted for hay production may well require an application of PotPhos (10.0% Phosphorus, 10.0% Potassium, 5.0% Sulphur, 26.0% Calcium). The consumption of potassium from previous lucerne hay crops and possible leaching of the phosphorus through the soil profile over winter makes PotPhos a worthy consideration. The ideal application time is September to early October.

“A soil test is a low-cost and highly effective management tool that will identify impediments to your production goals.”

The first of the hay cuts is likely to be late October. To improve lucerne production and quality, trace element deficiencies should be addressed in September. Trace element status may vary by location. Simple to do, a
low-cost tissue test will confirm your crops nutrient status. It usually only takes a few days to get the results making it an excellent tool for refining foliar trace element applications.

Foliar applications often include Manganese, Zinc and Copper. These are often sulphate based powders. As sulphate plant uptake may be limited, tangible benefits are achieved by including Balance & Grow in a tank mix with these trace elements.

Balance & Grow is a natural chelator, improving the uptake of trace elements, and providing amino acids to the lucerne, crucial for improved vegetative production. Trials and demonstrations have shown improved protein and metabolised energy in lucerne after using Balance & Grow, important in production of high quality feed.

After the first cut and once sufficient leaf area has grown back a second application of Balance & Grow with trace elements is applied to improve yields of the second cut. After the second hay cut, when the paddock is locked up for seed, Balance & Grow plus trace elements are applied again. At first flower of the lucerne, an application of Fruit & Balance, again often tank-mixed with trace elements, will stimulate and support the lucerne during seed set and reproduction.

Lucerne crop