Peanut has persisted as a tropical legume
From the April 2011 edition of Agriculture Today.
Forage peanut is extremely tolerant of heavy grazing and can provide productive pastures… if you can get seed.
A recent Pinto peanut release, cultivar Bolton, is being produced by Southedge Seeds at Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands.
Bolton is tolerant of dry spells.
It has performed reasonably well for nearly three years in a demonstration at Rappville, conducted by Casino district agronomist, Bede Clarke.
“Bolton is recommended for moderately fertile areas with good drainage and an average annual rainfall of 900 millimetres or more,” Grafton-based district agronomist, Tac Campbell, said.
“While tolerant of heavy grazing, lax grazing pressure that allows excessive shading is detrimental to Pinto peanut productivity.
“Rotational grazing should be practised.
“When drilling forage peanut, ensure seed is not damaged by the seeding mechanism.
“Modern corn planters are ideal, so are many direct drills.
“Ten kilograms per hectare of inoculated seed is best seeding rate but because seed is expensive, five to six kilograms per hectare is commonly used.”
Plantings of another Pinto forage peanut cultivar, Amarillo, have provided high quality productive pastures for more than 20 years at sites in the Northern Rivers and Bellinger Valley.
However, proof that Amarillo can persist as far south as the Macleay River is a vexing success story – there is no seed.
Seed production of Amarillo on the Atherton Tableland in Queensland ceased, due to low demand from dairy farmers and negligible interest from beef producers.
Best suited to moderately fertile, high rainfall country with little or no frost, grown on the Atherton Tablelands and on south-east Queensland dairy farms, Amarillo is usually accompanied by a warm season perennial, annual ryegrass, direct drilled for winter feed.
Howard Lee, a dairy farmer at Mooneba on the Macleay River, planted Amarillo in two blocks in late February 2004, as part of a trial Mr Campbell conducted to see how far south it would persist.
After good germination, frosts were bad and plants on the flat block did not survive.
However, it still thrives on a frost free hill with a north-easterly aspect, a productive legume, forming a 50-50 pasture with setaria.
“The ground has a fair bit of stone so I don’t want to be re-sowing,” Mr Lee said.
“The peanut persists without any special care, in fact it has only had two lots of fertiliser thrown at it since it has been there and the cows love it.”
Contact Tac Campbell, Grafton, (02) 6640 1647, firstname.lastname@example.org