|Pasture type and use||
Alternative niche legume species with warm-season growth. For wet acidic soils of low fertility. Cattle and sheep grazing.
|Area of adaptation||High-rainfall coastal districts (north and south), and moist sites on the Northern Tablelands.|
|Min. average annual rainfall||1000 mm|
|Soil requirements||Adapted to most soil types providing soil moisture is favourable. Tolerates low soil pH(Ca) 4.5–5.5, high levels of aluminium and manganese, and waterlogged sites.|
|Varieties||Grasslands Maku. Characterised by large leaf, thick stem, erect perennial habit.|
|Should be broadcast, or planted shallow, at 1–2 kg/ha, although lower rates (0.5) are common because of high seed costs. Establishment may be enhanced by trampling with livestock or rolling.|
|Sowing time||Late summer to early autumn planting is likely to be most successful. It can be planted in spring in locations where spring–summer rainfall is reliable and grass competition can be held in check.|
|Companion species||Coexists successfully with vigorous or invasive companion grasses.
In coastal districts: setaria, paspalum, carpet grass.
In tablelands districts: tall fescue, cocksfoot, phalaris.
|Inoculation||Specific Lotus uliginosus rhizobium strain (Group D).|
|Major nutrient deficiencies||Severe deficiencies in phosphorus, sulfur and molybdenum need to be corrected. Efficient in utilising soil phosphorus, so will survive on low-phosphorus fertiliser inputs.|
|Main insect pests||Reputedly resistant to predation by insects and soil-living pests.|
|Main diseases||Generally regarded as resistant to Phytophthora and other water mould fungi which are potentially a problem in wet soils. Fusarium root rot has been reported.
A virus-like infection similar to ‘lucerne yellows’ has been reported to be associated with death of lotus plants on the North Coast, but the incidence and significance is unknown.
|Management||Tolerant of both close grazing and lax grazing. Tactical grazing to maintain adequate sward density is beneficial to tillering from rhizomes and stems to speed up regrowth.|
|Livestock disorders of particular note||Sometimes cyanogenetic glycosides (L. cruentus syn. coccineus).
Milk taint (L. corniculatus and L. major syn. pedunculatus syn. uliginosus).
Occasionally develops tannin levels high enough to reduce feed intake.
NSW Agriculture is currently undertaking statewide research to develop recommended grazing practices for lotus persistence.
|Further information||Agfact P2.5.30 Lotus for pasture and seed production.|
Advice on livestock health disorders was provided by Dr Chris Bourke, Principal Research Scientist, Orange. His contribution is gratefully acknowledged.
Photo: Warren McDonald, Former Technical Specialist (Pastures), NSW Agriculture, Tamworth.