A hard-seeded legume-based pasture can:

  • offer free nitrogen which improves the productivity of other pasture species, the persistence of the pasture and the nutritional content of the whole pasture
  • fix free nitrogen for the cropping phase of the rotation
  • extend the production window
  • improve pasture resilience to climatic conditions and seasonal variation due to their deep roots and/or capacity to produce sufficient seed for regeneration in subsequent years, even under adverse growing conditions
  • provide more options for weed control in preparation for the cropping phase
  • improve overall soil health
  • regenerate after the cropping phase without re‑sowing (species and variety-specific)
  • produce hard seed which can be harvested using standard grain harvesting equipment, reducing costs
  • be sown outside the crop sowing window with summer (unscarified or in-pod seed) and dry sowing options
  • be sown within the cropping phase using low-cost techniques, such as twin seeding (unscarified or in‑pod seed) with a cereal crop
  • produce high quantities of nutritious winter feed
  • provide similar and, in some cases, higher weight gain in ewes and lambs in winter and spring compared with lucerne, lucerne/phalaris and volunteer pastures
  • be used for a high quality hay (particularly bladder clover) offering similar and, in some cases, higher weight gains than sub-clover or lucerne/oaten hay.
French serradella (Ornithopus sativus)