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Bindaroo Button Medic


Medicago orbicularis

Regenerating annual pastures

A prostrate growing medic with high hard seeds and persistence

  • Button shaped seed pod
  • Ultra high hard seed level
  • Semi-prostrate growth habit
  • Highly persistent even in high summer rainfall conditions which would break down hard seed
  • Very good ground cover
  • Good winter growth
Seed Agronomy Table
Flowering Early
Hard Seed Level (rating) 10
Waterlogging Tolerance Poor
Seeding Rate - Dryland (kg/ha) 10 - 15
Seeding Rate - High Rainfall/Irrigation (kg/ha) N/A
Hard Seed Level 1 = Least Hard 10 = Most Hard • Burr Burial Strength 1 = Very Weak 10 = Very Strong
Establishment Guarantee

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  • Goldstrike LongLife®


  • Early flowering and seeding and well adapted to marginal climatic conditions
  • High seed production
  • High levels of hard seed and a slow breakdown pattern ensure large seed reserves
  • Good nutritive value with high protein, palatable


  • Productive in good seasons but not as productive as barrel and strand medics in average seasons
  • Regeneration not as reliable as other medics
  • Aphid susceptible
  • Seedling regeneration from the resilient seed reserve could pose a problem in crop rotations though readily removed by herbicide

Plant Description
  • Prostrate with trailing runners.

  • Trailing up to 50 centimetres long.

  • Trifoliolate; leaflets oval; leaflets 9 to18 millimetres long, 6 to 14 millimetres wide, toothed almost to base, upper surface glabrous; lower surface glabrous or hairy.

  • Inflorescences 1 to 5 mostly yellow, sometimes with mauve markings.

  • Pod light straw coloured, spineless, flattened with papery edges, 3.5 to 7 millimetres long, 13 to 17 millimetres diameter, coils 3 to 7, seeds 10 to 26.

Pasture Type and Use

A self regenerating winter growing annual ley legume in dryland cereal growing regions in the Upper Eyre Peninsula and Mallee of southern Australia and in pastoral systems in subtropical Australia. Used in marginal cropping and grazing environments owing to the resilience of the hard seed reserve.


Requires an annual rainfall of 200 to 650 millimetres in southern Australia and 300 to 650 millimetres in the sub tropics.


Winter growing, can withstand frosts.

  • In the subtropics it may be sown with any of the adapted tropical and temperate grasses, other adapted medics (particularly early flowering barrel and spineless burr medics) and Desmanthus and Caatinga stylo; in southern Australia, it may be sown with early flowering cultivars of snail, strand medic, spineless burr medic and barrel medic.

  • Sow at a rate depending on the proportion in the mix. Ensure seed is Goldstrike LongLife® treated.

  • 2 to 3 kilograms per hectare of scarified seed. Ensure seed is Goldstrike LongLife® treated.

  • Early autumn to early winter.

  • Goldstrike LongLife® treated. The use of Goldstrike LongLife® seed treatment is recommended to reduce damage from insects at seedling stages.

  • Phosphorous is generally the single most limiting macronutrient for medics; sulphur and/or potassium may be required on some soils (especially sandy loams and/or in the subtropics). Some soils, particularly infertile sands, may also be deficient in important trace elements (eg. Cu, Zn, Mo and Co), some of which are directly involved in nitrogen fixation.

  • Ongoing applications of P and S as required. Soil tests will determine the need and appropriate rates.

  • In the establishment year, delay grazing until plants are well established. Graze leniently until flowering then remove stock to maximise seed set. Makes more production when rotationally grazed. Does not respond well to crash grazing.

  • Rate of spread slow but, because of its high hard seed levels, could be spread through livestock.

  • Low weed potential owing to slow hard seed breakdown pattern. It is palatable and readily eaten. In ley systems, it could be a weed of cereal and grain legume crops.

  • Susceptible to red legged earth mite, blue-green aphid, spotted alfalfa aphid and Cow-Pea Aphid.

  • It is susceptible to powdery mildew.

  • Susceptible to residual herbicides from a cropping phase, particularly sulfonylurea on alkaline, sandy soils.

Animal Production
  • High levels of crude protein (17 to 22 per cent), energy (8 to 10 megajoules per kilogram ME) and digestibility (55 to 75 per cent DMD) in leafy growth.

  • Readily consumed by livestock, either as green or dry feed.

  • Button medic has a lower dry matter production potential than the barrel medics, but has produced 7 tonne per hectare DM in a good season in the subtropics.

  • Bloat can be an issue with cattle. Inoculate to prevent pulpy kidney.

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