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Silver Snail Medic


Medicago scutellata

Regenerating annual pastures

Snail medic variety with excellent vigour and persistence

  • Early maturing
  • ‘Snail’ shaped seed pod
  • Erect growth habit with very early bulk
  • Excellent hay option
  • Some tolerance to lower pH soils
  • Rapid establishment vigour due to large seed size
Seed Agronomy Table
Flowering 77 days
Hard Seed Level (rating) 8
Waterlogging Tolerance Fair
Seeding Rate - Dryland (kg/ha) 15 - 18
Seeding Rate - High Rainfall/Irrigation (kg/ha) 18 - 25
Hard Seed Level 1 = Least Hard 10 = Most Hard • Burr Burial Strength 1 = Very Weak 10 = Very Strong
Establishment Guarantee

At S&W Seed Company Australia we’re so confident about our seed genetics and seed quality, we will replace seed at half the original purchase price if it fails to establish satisfactorily in the first thirty days*  Read more

  • Goldstrike LongLife®


  • Well adapted to alkaline, cracking clay soils
  • Useful in crop/pasture rotation systems
  • Vigorous seedlings and high DM production
  • Good tolerance to red legged earth mite
  • Less likelihood of bloat than with other medics


  • Poor persistence in long term tropical grass pastures
  • Not adapted to soils with pH lower than 6.5
  • Regenerating seedlings can be a weed problem in winter crops

Plant Description
  • Semi-erect to erect, selfregenerating, cool season annual legume, growing to 50 centimetres tall.

  • Soft, semi-erect, branching and hairy.

  • Comprise three elliptically shaped, hairless, leaflets (sometimes with short hairs on the upper surface, and short to longer hairs on the lower surface); 15 to 30 millimetres long, 7 to 20 millimetres wide; leaf margin serrated; purple flecking (generally sparse) in some cultivars.

  • Yellow to orange yellow, about 10 millimetres wide, 1 to 3 in a cluster.

  • Large (13 millimetres), spineless, globe -shaped, comprising five to six coils; straw coloured to grey to dark grey when mature, containing six to ten seeds.

Pasture Type and Use

Generally winter growing annual ley legume in dryland cereal growing regions of southern and subtropical Australia, where it is grazed by livestock or cut for hay. It is suited for hay production because of its upright growth. It may be used as a legume component in permanent grass/legume pastures in the cooler subtropics.


Requires an annual rainfall of 300 to 700 millimetres.


A winter/spring growing annual that can withstand low temperatures, although production is limited by frosts. More productive when sown in early autumn.

  • Often grown with winter cereals such as oats for grass/legume hay production; sown with other medics including barrel medic in the subtropics and gama medic in southern Australia. It regenerates later than barrel, strand and burr medics.

  • Sow at a rate depending on the proportion in the mix, but generally 3 to 4 kilograms per hectare. Ensure seed is Goldstrike LongLife® treated.

  • 15 to 18 kilograms per hectare. 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.

  • Where soils are low in nutrients, particularly phosphorus (P) and/or sulphur (S), it would be beneficial to apply 10 to 15 kilograms P and 10 kilograms siemens per hectare annually, and copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and molybdenum (Mo) if they are deficient. Soil tests will determine the need and appropriate rates. In permanent pasture, fertilise according to deficiencies identified in soil tests.

  • Snail medic is generally grown in rotation with crops. If the soils are deficient, particularly in P and S, the crops are fertilised accordingly. In a rotation system, there should be sufficient residual fertiliser for good medic production. Soil tests will determine the need and appropriate fertiliser rates.

  • In the establishment year, delay grazing until plants are well established. Graze leniently until flowering then remove stock to maximise seed set. Rotationally graze in following years. Snail medic is susceptible to heavy grazing. Pods ay be eaten by sheep grazing the pasture during the summer and on soils that are not self mulching, this may reduce the seed reserve significantly.

  • Small amounts of seed are spread in the dung following ingestion by livestock. Seed can also be spread through hay.

  • Low weed potential as snail medic is palatable and readily eaten by livestock, and is limited in its soil adaptation. Being a self regenerating annual with a staggered germination, it can be a weed of cereal and grain legume crops.

  • Some tolerance to red legged earth mite, lucerne flea and spotted alfalfa aphid, but susceptible to blue green aphid.

  • Susceptible to root rot, alfalfa mosaic virus, and black stem fungus/phoma.

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

Animal Production
  • Palatable.

  • Live weight gain of 1 kilogram per day with cattle or 300 grams per day with lambs can be expected.

  • Occasionally red gut in sheep; can cause bloat in cattle, though with a lower probability than other medics.

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