Biserrula has been the most successful pasture legume to establish and produce seed under severe drought conditions in NSW’s 450mm rainfall region in 2018 and 2019, according to GRDC-backed research.
Lead researcher Dr Belinda Hackney from the NSW DPI and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation said biserrula’s deep root system and sustained periods of indeterminate growth meant it better-adapted under variable and severe moisture stress.
She said: “Biserrula appears to have greater plasticity in initiating reproductive growth compared to French serradella, which is also deep-rooted and has capacity for long periods of indeterminate growth.”
Dr Hackney presented her findings at a GRDC research update at Lake Cargelligo in mid-March 2020.
She said results from 2019 indicate an early-season experimental line of yellow serradella also has significant potential in that region.
“Biserrula and yellow serradella produced enough seed under extreme drought conditions to form a seed bank large enough for future regeneration whereas subterranean clover produced less than 10 kg seed/ha and would have required resowing,” she said. “And both biserrula and hard-seeded serradellas can be used in on-demand roles in rotations to increase nitrogen supply to crops. Understanding hard seed attributes are required for success.
“The use of nursery paddocks to determine which legume species to grow can be a very useful tool,” she added.
Other researchers involved in the work were Dr Jeff McCormick and technical officer Simon Flinn.