UK livestock farmer are now showing interest in Lucerne, it has the potential to provide yields of 10-15 tonnes of dry matter per hectare. Lucerne is highly digestible, with high protein, rich in trace minerals and is an excellent source of fibre. With the added advantage being a legume, it will fix nitrogen too.
These nutritional values will save on farm imported proteins.
It is typically grown as a stand-alone crop, and usually grow for silage, but it can be grazed. With good management practices it will persist for 5-6 years. Modern varieties have been selected for their suitability for the northern European climate and are therefore suitable for the UK. Lucerne will leave considerable residual nitrogen allowing following crops to thrive. Lucerne suits most soil types however, it prefers soils that are well drained, a pH between 6.2 and 8.5 (ideally pH7), and where perennial weeds are not an issue.
Lucerne can be grown successfully with grass as a mixture. During drought periods as we have experienced of late in the UK and due to Lucerne’s drought tolerance, dry matter yields from grass and Lucerne mixtures have been several times higher than grass alone.
Sowing Date: From April through the spring. Summer sowing in August and early September will result in heavier crops the following spring.
Sowing Rate: Sowing rate of 8 kilos per acre as a straight stand, or as a mixture 50% Lucerne and 50% Grass up to 70% Lucerne and 30% Grass.
With excellent yield potential, disease resistance and palatability Interval is ideal for finishing lambs or dairy cows. Interval is very fast to establish with some crops ready to utilise within 10-12 weeks of sowing.
A New Zealand bred variety which is quick to establish like forage rape but more winter hardy. Ready to graze in 12-14 weeks from sowing
A dual purpose variety for human or animal consumption. Purple skinned with cream coloured flesh, this medium dry matter variety has good fresh weight yield & disease resistance.
A bronze skinned, white fleshed variety bred for stock feeding not for culinary use. High yielding, medium dry matter variety with excellent winter hardiness and keeping.