Back Consider planting lucerne in autumn

Date: 04 February 2016

Autumn planted lucerne crops have the winter to establish a good root system and tend to give higher first year yields than spring established crops. In warm but drier districts in the North Island, such as Northland & Hawke's Bay, sowing in the autumn enables the seedling plant to become well established prior to the risk of summer moisture stress.

Lucerne seeds begin to germinate after absorbing about 125% of their weight in water. Lucerne can germinate at temperatures greater than 2° Celcius, however the optimum germination temperature is higher.

Plan to plant after the first autumn rain. At this time of the year soils will be warm enough to promote faster water movement into the seed and a quicker and more even germination.

If you are in a cooler district, such as the South Island, where there is a risk of heavy frosts and/or snow, it is usually better to delay planting to the Spring. Young plants often don’t have a good crown and enough root reserves for winter survival and spring regrowth. They are also prone to “frost heave” when the ground freezes pushing the seedlings out of the soil.

Key management steps for the successful establishment of lucerne are:

  • Spray out existing crop or pasture.
  • Soil test to determine lime and fertiliser inputs.
  • Cultivate to achieve a fine, even, weed-free seed bed.
  • Apply a pre-plant grass and broadleaf herbicide prior to the final cultivation.
  • Plant seed to a maximum depth of 25 mm (6 - 12 mm on clay soils).
  • Plant Nitragin* Plus treated Pioneer® brand lucerne seed at 12 - 18 kg/ha.
  • Roll-seed-roll to ensure good seed to soil contact.

Pioneer® brand lucerne varieties for 2016 include Pioneer® brand 54V09 which has become a trusted performer as well as two new introductions, Pioneer® brand 55V50 and 55Q27.

54V09 is a high yielding 4 dormant variety* with exceptional field appearance and superior relative feed quality. 54V09 combines excellent winter-hardiness with a superb disease resistance package that includes high resistance to Phytophthora Root Rot, Verticillium Wilt, Bacterial Wilt and Stem Nematode. Suitable for grazing, silage or hay.

55Q27 is a new 5 dormant variety* with exceptional forage yield potential and quality. It combines very good winter-hardiness with an excellent disease resistance package including high resistance to Phytophthora Root Rot, Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt and Stem Nematode. Suitable for grazing, silage or hay.

55V50 is a new 5 dormant variety* with exceptional field appearance and superior relative feed quality. 55V50 has high resistance to Phytophthora Root Rot, Verticillium Wilt and Bacterial Wilt. Fast recovery after cutting makes 55V50 an excellent option for hay and silage producers as well as livestock farmers who plan to graze their stands.

*Higher dormancy ratings indicate greater autumn growth

 

 

Phytophthora Root Rot

Verticillium Wilt

Bacterial Wilt

Fusarium Wilt

Stem Nematode

Spotted Alfalfa Aphid

Pea Aphid

54V09

HR

HR

HR

R

HR

R

HR

55V50

HR

HR

HR

R

R

R

R

55Q27

HR

HR

HR

HR

HR

R

R

 

Disease resistance profiles

HR       – Highly resistant (more than 50% resistant plants)

R          - Resistant (31% to 51% resistant plants)

MR      - Moderately resistant (16% to 30% resistant plants)

LR        - Low resistant (6% to 15% resistant plants)

         - Susceptible (up to 5% resistant plants)

 

Important: Ratings are based on historical field observations and analysis of traits by Pioneer Agronomists and Research Managers and may not predict future results. 

 

For more information on Pioneer® brand lucerne varieties, click here to request a complimentary copy of the Pioneer® brand Lucerne Manual or call your local Pioneer representative.