Brendon Cant brendon at iinet.net.au
Tue Nov 7 03:33:25 CET 2006

Crop Doctor -- 7.11.06



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Biserrula, a promising pasture legume for crop rotations in most WA
wheatbelt rainfall zones, holds a trifecta of benefits by controlling
herbicide resistant weeds, producing excellent seed yields and fixing


The two commercial varieties currently available are Casbah, a mid-season
cultivar suited to areas with 325 to 500 mm annual rainfall and Mauro, a mid
to late maturing cultivar suited to areas with 450 to 700 mm annual


Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) researcher, Dr Angelo Loi said
biserrula was a prolific seed producer, yielding up to 1500 kilograms per


Biserrula was developed by University of WA based Centre for Legumes in
Mediterranean Agriculture and the Grains Research and Development
Corporation supported National Annual Pasture Legume Improvement Program,
now effectively part of Pastures Australia.


Its high levels of dry matter digestibility, metabolisable energy and crude
protein make it an attractive stock feed, however there is a risk of
photosensitisation occurring in spring (particularly for lambs and bare
shorn animals).


With high fertiliser costs reducing growers’ margins, biserrula is an
excellent source of nitrogen and Dr Loi adds that grazing biserrula is the
best tool for controlling herbicide resistant weeds because sheep can
develop an aversion to biserrula and graze the non-legume pasture


Biserrula cultivars suit fine textured acidic and alkaline soils, including
sandy loams and clay loams.


Spring herbage yields of biserrula have reached 11 tonnes per hectare in WA,
which compares favourably with the more established French serradella,
yellow serradella and subterranean clover.


Photosensitivity and aphid susceptibility are the only real limitations to
consider and are currently being investigated by DAFWA.


The Crop Doctor is GRDC Managing Director, Peter Reading, Tel 02 6272 5525

Further Information: Dr Angelo Loi, Tel 08 9368 3907

GRDC REF: CDOct063.doc/UWA360/Blumenthal

Brendon Cant & Associates
Public Relations & Marketing 
Suite 5
4 Gugeri St
Claremont WA 6010
Tel 08 9384 1122


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