Garry Kadwell – Crookwell, NSW
December 3, 2020 All Regions
In 2011 Garry Kadwell of Crookwell, New South Wales, sowed S&W Seed Company Q31 Lucerne into eight hectares on one of his main properties to increase productivity for both hay production and lamb fattening.
Since then, the Q31 has consistently provided Garry with three cuts per season equating to sixty to eighty round bales per cut and averaging 400 kilograms per bale.
“The Q31 has been a life saver for the operation in regard to both hay production and its ability to graze and fatten lambs,” said Garry.
Q31 still has high plant numbers per square metre after eight years in the ground; this can be attributed to great paddock management by Garry as well as the agronomic features of the very winter dormant lucerne.
Q31 has a winter dormancy classification of 3, this means that it shuts down and stops growing over the period from May to mid-September. This growth habit enables it to handle very cold winters, snow and ice, and still bounce back in spring ready for the first of the season cuts in November. Q31 is like no other lucerne in the market as it is extremely prostrate in nature, with a crown below the ground.
Having the crown below the ground is an outstanding feature, as it not only protects the plant from livestock and vehicle wheel track damage, it also means that later as the stand thins out, winter forage crops can be sown into them without damaging the lucerne plant itself.
As a winter dormant variety, Q31 has an average cut time of 40-42 days, season dependant. Although this seems like a long time, it does have some great advantages.
The later cutting window gives you plenty of decision making and management time, as you can delay cuts without quickly losing quality and yield more dry matter per hectare with each cut of lucerne off the paddock. Q31 has a fantastic leaf-to-stem ratio, which means it grows plenty of leaf, resulting in greener bales and chaff quality hay.
With an extremely low set crown, Q31 is a fantastic option for your sheep/lamb fattening operation, as close grazing habits of sheep do not affect the plants health. This versatility is another reason that Garry chose Q31 initially.
Six years later, Garry sowed a further 12-hectare and 10-hectare blocks of Q31 as it went so well in the Southern Tablelands environment.
“It continues to surprise me, the quality of lucerne it is still producing after eight or so years is amazing,” testified Garry.
Image: Gary Kadwell is continually impressed with the productivity of his S&W seed company Q31 Lucerne, consistently achieving at least three cuts per season.