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Multileaf ML99 Lucerne
Farmer's Feedback
Seed Distributors - Science based pasture®

Mat Sim - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

The success of a two year old stand of ML99 lucerne has led to more of the same variety being planted on the property of Phil Sim, of Boisdale, north of Maffra in the Gippsland region of Victoria. “As far as ML99 goes, I’m more than impressed with it,” Mr Sim said.  “We’ve planted it again as a result of it going so well.” The first time ML99 was utilised on the property was during the spring of 2011 when it was planted and then cut for hay over the summer period. Mr Sim said it was a challenging summer but they were able to get four cuts of hay from the area in a very good first-year result. He said the quality of hay was very good, particularly when it was cut on time at intervals of between four and five weeks. The Lucerne hay is all used on-farm for the dairy cows and generally fed out during the winter time. ML99 is a highly winter active lucerne which makes it an ideal option for grazing during the cooler months and through until spring.

Mr Sim said they grazed with their dairy cows in June and again in late August and early September with the stand providing a valuable feed option at that time of year. “Its winter activity helps fill the feed gap,” he said. The lucerne worked well at that time of year with the dairy cows put onto pasture after the morning milking, and then allowed onto the ML99 for one and a half hours prior to the afternoon milking. After the grazing during early spring, the lucerne was locked up and then cut for hay throughout the summer. The second stand of ML99 lucerne was planted on October 10, 2012 and established well with the aim of getting a number of hay cuts over summer and grazing in the winter period. Mr Sim said they had turned to lucerne as a hay and grazing option after the extended dry spell in which irrigation water supply was limited. “Lucerne has really made the most of the area,” he said.  “If we were going to be short of water we are getting a better response out of lucerne than out of pasture,” he said. The hay is made into large square bales of six foot by three foot by three foot and used on-farm.

Mat Sim, of Boisdale, north of Maffra in the Gippsland region of Victoria

Merv Mason - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

The use of the winter active ML99 Multileaf lucerne has provided quicker growth coming out of spring and an earlier cut opportunity on the property of Merv Mason at East Greenmount, on the Darling Downs, in Queensland. Mr Mason said he found the more winter active varieties could sometimes provide a cut of hay during the cooler months, but more importantly grew substantially quicker during spring. This meant he could comfortably get five cuts of hay during the summer season and an additional cut if the weather conditions were favourable in autumn. Across the 2012/13 season ML99 Multileaf produced an average of 30 small square bales per acre under some challenging conditions, although the variety did reach a high of 50 bales per acre the previous year. Mr Mason said the yields of ML99 Multileaf were on a par with another highly winter active lucerne he had on the property and demonstrated excellent quality in the bale. “ML99 Multileaf is softer hay, and finer stemmed hay,” he said. Hay from the property is supplied locally to a range of end users, with the horse market, encompassing race horses, hobby horses and stock horses, the major target market.

Clients with weaner cattle and alpacas also regularly purchase the ML99 Multileaf hay. Quality is the major factor in getting customers and repeat customers and ML99 Multileaf is producing hay that the clients keep coming back for. “They are very quality orientated, Mr Mason said. “I think consumers are getting a lot more educated.” He said one client, in particular, used the hay to feed young racehorse foals and was very pleased to utilise hay baled at between 17 and 18 per cent moisture. The feedback was that at this moisture level, the foals did particularly well. Hay is generally cut when the new growth is about two inches in height and just starting to emerge from the base of the crown. ML99 Multileaf was first introduced onto the property in April 2011 and will be utilised over another season before the paddock is rotated through to a winter cereal crop like Moby forage barley. The rotation of winter and summer based crops works particularly well by giving an opportunity to control weeds in both phases.

Merv Mason at East Greenmount, on the Darling Downs, in Queensland

Neville Colls - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

The excellent yields and pest and disease resistance of Multileaf® ML99 has impressed. It has been brilliant. It has a finer stem and good leaf and produces very good quality hay that is delivered to a horse stud. We are cutting it every 17 days to three weeks and at one stage getting 60 to 70 bales/acre (148 to 173 bales/ha). Its tolerance in the wet was impressive and it was not dropping its leaves. We will put another 50 acres of it in this season.

Neville Colls, Chinchilla (ML99 at Mundubbera), QLD

Bruce Doery - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

A crop of ML99 lucerne that had been undersown to canola provided valuable sheep feed over summer. The canola and lucerne seed were mixed together and sown at the same time. A Clearfield canola variety was chosen and a herbicide used to control broadleaf weeds over both crops. It was dry in October and the lucerne wasn’t competing with the canola but after harvest and summer rain it kicked away. I am really pleased with the dryland stand with quite a good plant population. It’s been a cost effective way of getting it established. We have been trying lucerne and other legumes to keep the cost of nitrogen down.

Bruce Doery, Westmere VIC

John Meek - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

High yields for hay are achieved from the ML99 variety with the first cut in December last season. The excellent quality hay is used on-farm or sold. ML99 has produced good forage over a number of years and will also hang on well when the paddock misses irrigation.

John Meek, Bordertown SA

I'm very happy with my ML99 - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

Despite the tough spring, I’ve got a very good stand right across the paddock - even on the hard soil areas. Its now producing great feed, and fattening stock.

Peter Chapman, Tamworth NSW

Darryl Winter - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

I’m very impressed with the hay quality (of ML99) - it’s second to none – very leafy with a good leaf to stem ration. Sheep graze the paddock from mid-April through to June or July before it is locked up and cut for hay. We have 12 months year round production - you can’t do any better. We had very little summer rainfall in one paddock and it’s still trying to grow.

Darryl Winter , Bordertown SA

Jim Honeysett - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

I’ve got 6 different lucerne varieties under irrigation for lucerne hay production and ML99 is the most productive of them all so far. Its producing 60 to 70 bales per acre each cut, and holds its leaf well. ML99 is producing nice soft hay and the best hay quality of all of the varieties.

Jim Honeyset, Mudgee NSW

Grant BlackwellUndersown ML99 Lucerne decision pays off - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

A decision to undersow lucerne to barley has paid off for Grant Blackwell, of Milang, in South Australia with an excellent cereal yield and a wellestablished pasture. Mr Blackwell said in the past he had sown lucerne in late June as a stand-alone crop but decided to plant it earlier with a cover crop this season. Sloop barley was sown at a rate of 40 kilograms per hectare in mid-May with the highly winter active Goldstrike ML99 Multileaf lucerne put in the following day at a rate of 7 kilograms per hectare. Row widths of 22.5cms were used for both crops with the lucerne placed near the top of the soil profile by the air seeder and press wheels utilised to get good soil moisture contact. Nutrition was provided with the barley in the form of DAP at a rate of 50 kilograms per hectare.

An additional 10 kilograms per hectare of DAP was also applied with the lucerne seed to help get it established. The ML99 lucerne variety was chosen after good success on the property in previous years and the need to have a winter active option. Lucerne is used to feed the cattle through the autumn, winter and early spring and will also provide a valuable option with summer rainfall. “We put the stock on the cropping stubbles through the summer and early autumn,” Mr Blackwell said. “This year the lucerne provided beautiful feed from April right through.” The rainfall which fell in the November period was also very beneficial to the new and existing lucerne stands. Mr Blackwell said it was an excellent season with the thick crop of barley reaching an average yield of more than 2.5 tonnes per hectare. The seeding rate for the barley of 40 kilograms per hectare was less than the 65 to 70 kilograms per hectare he would normally use.

A reduced rate was used on the property to encourage the lucerne seedlings. “The lower rate didn’t affect the yield,” Mr Blackwell said. “I was very pleased with the result. I got my money back for the lucerne.” The barley was harvested in early November, with the lucerne estimated to be 30cm high by the end of that month. “It was doing really well,” Mr Blackwell said. Cattle were able to graze the paddock from early December and the lucerne is expected to have a lifespan of anywhere up to six years. Mr Blackwell said they have had lucerne on the property for ten years in some paddocks and he has implemented a program to rotate the lucerne pasture paddocks with cropping. “Once you get the lucerne in and established you can’t kill the stuff,” he said. The majority of paddocks are suitable for both pasture and cropping. Mr Blackwell said he would look to crop for approximately three years before utilising lucerne in the paddock during the next phase. When the lucerne stand becomes less productive it will be rotated back into the cropping phase, allowing canola, wheat and other options the benefit of increased nitrogen.

Grant Blackwell of Milang in South Australia

Shannon MayfieldML99 Lucerne used to improve productivity in poorer country
Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

Lucerne has been planted in deep sand country on the property of Shannon Mayfield at Kimba in South Australia in an effort to improve productivity. Mr Mayfield said they had many hectares of that particular soil type which was prone to erosion and had carried a series of poor grain crops. The Goldstrike ML99 Multileaf lucerne was planted at a rate of 4 kilograms per hectare with barley at 30 kilograms per hectare which acted as a carrier. A disc seeder was used to sow the crop in late June. Mr Mayfield said the crop looked good early but endured some tough conditions through the spring and early summer.

He said skeleton weed was a major problem in the 35 hectare paddock and it was hoped the lucerne would outcompete the weed for moisture once it becomes established. ML99 lucerne is a good option under the circumstances because of its good root system and ability to provide summer and winter feed options. Lucerne will also provide the soil with nitrogen. Mr Mayfield said they had not been able to fertilise the area due to the high cost of nitrogen, and the unprofitable nature of the paddock so nitrogen fixation by the plant would be an excellent option. He said, if the initial 45 hectare paddock worked well, they would consider a lucerne-based system on a much larger scale and set up a cell grazing system.

Shannon Mayfield of Limba, South Australia

Glen FrazerExcellent hay from ML99 Lucerne - Multileaf® ML99 Lucerne

Glen Frazer of “Cortina”, Bylong Valley, NSW has done well with Goldstrike ML99 lucerne. “Our ML99 stand is in its second year and is performing very well. It makes real nice hay with fine stems - as good as you get!!,” he said. “It also makes good chaff for horses. We just made 143 large square bales from this 20 hectare pivot (an average of 2.5 tonne per hectare) despite a shortage of irrigation water and the toughest spring the Bylong Valley has seen in 15 years.”

Glen Frazer, manager of Cortina, Bylong Valley, NSW

David LowLucerne taking advantage of summer rainfall - Multileaf® ML99 Lucere

Lucerne has proved an excellent option to take advantage of summer rainfall on the “Linbrae” property of David Low at White Flat, west of Tumby Bay on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. Mr Low said the 18 inch rainfall was winter dominant but they did get the odd summer storm come through to benefit the lucerne. “Most years we get an inch or two over the summer,” he said. “I was sick of cursing the summer rain so we put lucerne in.” An experiment with L90 lucerne in 2008 was followed by a 8 hectare planting of Goldstrike ML99 Multileaf lucerne on June 16 of 2009. The paddock had grown barley the previous year and the stubble was then burnt and followed by a knockdown herbicide and an application of Sprayseed and Trifluralin a fortnight afterwards. Mr Low said the seed was sown at 9 kilograms per hectare with 110 kilograms per hectare of fertiliser using a Duncan no-till pasture drill into 125mm row spacings. “The germination was excellent,” he said. “It must have been close to 100 percent.” The ML99 grew well and the 8 hectares was first used in September with a mob of 800 sheep grazing the stand for a week. After the first week half the sheep were removed and 400 ewes continued to graze the for a further fortnight.

David Low of Tumby Bay, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

Bill CaseyLucerne production ideal way to stay on the land for Girgarre farmer
Multileaf® ML99 Lucere

Lucerne production has proved the ideal way to stay on the land for Bill Casey, of Girgarre, in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria, after he stopped milking cows two years ago. Mr Casey said he wanted to try to grow a bit of lucerne after leaving dairying and initially put in a paddock of Goldstrike ML99 Multileaf lucerne in 2008. It was the first time he had grown lucerne and planted the seed at a rate of 15 kilograms per hectare at the end of July. He said he was amazed at how quickly the lucerne emerged and grew, and he was able to get the first cut from the stand in November. A further four cuts were achieved throughout the season in an excellent start for the lucerne. Mr Casey said lucerne was able to be turned into silage, large round bales or small square bales and there was a market with local dairy farmers or horse people for each product.

He said the first cut was made into silage to assist with the weed control and silage could also be used as an option late in the season or when rain was threatening. The success of ML99 led him to plant two more paddocks on the property at a similar time in 2009 with similar good results. While the new stands were cut in late November, the previous year’s crop was being harvested for the third time at the same stage. Mr Casey said he expected to get six cuts of lucerne off the second year stand and could even stretch to a seventh cut if the weather conditions were suitable in the autumn. He said the multileaf nature of the lucerne made excellent quality hay. “There is plenty of leaf in the bale,” he said. “It is very impressive.” He said the winter active lucerne did not stop growing throughout the year and responded extremely quickly after cutting. The lucerne was harvested by leaving the height of a tennis ball between the blade and the ground to ensure the growth of the next crop is not affected. Mr Casey said it was the first time he had grown lucerne and it was on a recently lasered paddock but he was very happy with the crop. “It is great when you see the results you can get out of it,” he said.

Bill Casey of Girgarre, Goulburn Valley, Victoria

Good hay option with ML99 - Multileaf® ML99 Lucere

ML99 has proven to be a high quality hay on the property of Darryl Maskell at Yalco in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria. Mr Haskell has approximately 15 hectares of ML99 lucerne under a pivot on the property with the cut hay used to supply a nearby chaff mill. The area was sown in November 2009 with the lucerne also used as silage and green chop at a neighbouring dairy farm. ML99 is more active during winter than the majority of other lucerne varieties and Mr Maskell was able to cut the area for silage during May of 2010 to supply the dairy. The lucerne responded well after the mid-winter cut and was ready for harvest in September before wet weather events made the year very challenging. The third cut produced 54 tonnes of premium lucerne hay which was delivered in big square bales to the chaff mill. "The quality from ML99 seems very good," Mr Haskell said. "It is certainly leafy and the variety holds its colour well. I've found some varieties over the years can lose their colour. A good colour is what the mill wants." The winter activity of ML99 will allow for harvest options during the winter months and provide quick regrowth.

Darryl Maskell, Yalco VIC

ML99 success in tough year - Multileaf® ML99 Lucere

The ML99 lucerne responded well in a tough hay making year on the property of Matt Robertson at Ashvale, via Wentworth in southern New South Wales. The lucerne was planted in the autumn of 2010 and established well before wet weather intervened during the spring and early summer. Mr Robertson said, with conditions that made it impossible to cut or bale hay the first three cuts were very difficult.“We have had three good cuts since the wet weather stopped.” He said the hay quality from the highly winter active lucerne was very good and the crop was being used to supply produce stores, the race horse industry and people with show horses. ML99 is producing fine leafy soft hay.” In a more normal season Mr Robertson said he could expect up to seven cuts from September
through to late March or early April with the ML99 showing good regrowth after cutting. The winter activity of ML99 also provided the opportunity for sheep or cattle feed through the cooler months. Mr Robertson said they had also produced hay in winter and used it for cattle.

Matt Robertson, Ashvale NSW
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