Peter and Colleen McLucas are part of a Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries leucaena trial, which is looking at the viability of growing the new psyllid resistant Redlands variety in the northern region.
It was a longtime dream for the McLucas family to grow leucaena on their property Quincan Springs, Peeramon on the Atherton Tablelands to promote improved cattle weight gains and drought management practices.
The McLucas’ are currently running 1000 adult equivalent cattle on their three properties and four lease properties plus operate a fattening operation buying in high quality cattle, predominantly Brahman-cross breeds.
Mrs McLucas said when the opportunity came up to become part of the trial, they jumped at it.
After setbacks due to a shortage in innoculent late last year, 32 hectares of leucaena was finally planted at Quincan Springs on January 30 this year with more than one million seeds planted.
“Previously we couldn’t grow leucaena here due to the psyllids, however the new variety has a very good resistance,” Mr McLucas said.
“Peter’s always been interested in growing leucaena,” Mrs McLucas added.
Despite the crop being frosted it is still going ahead in leaps and bounds.
The leucaena was planted in two paddocks for rotational grazing but that will soon be broken down into four paddocks and they will start trialling rotating one mob through the four paddocks and will leave another mob out as a control.
The push for the crop was to hopefully increase carrying capacity and weight gain.
Before planting, the McLucas’ had one problem they didn’t expect, the root systems of their grasses were too strong and they resorted to using a hay raker to prepare the paddocks for planting.
The seeds were planted 30mm apart and the strike rate was “phenomenal”.
Surprisingly even for the McLucas’ their soil is of such great quality they didn’t need to fertilise.
“It’s unbelievable, but the soil samples came back and it is pretty handy country,” Mrs McLucas said.
Before moving to the Tablelands 12 years ago, the McLucas’ spent 20 years in Hughenden breeding cattle for the live export market.
Now, they regularly supply the Rocky Creek abattoir with between 25 and 30 head.
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