How well do you know your nodules?

Legumes such as subterranean clover play an important role in pasture systems, but they must be well nodulated in order to fix nitogen in the soil

Legumes play an important role in pasture systems providing high quality feed and fixing nitrogen in the soil. Whilst our clovers and medics may look healthy above the ground, below the ground may be another story.

South East Local Land Services will be asking land managers how well they know their nodules in workshops running across the South East and the ACT this spring.

The workshops will provide information to land managers about the role of legumes in our pasture systems, why they are important, how legume nodules are formed, what can influence nodule health, how to assess nodules in the field and how to improve nodulation.

“Pasture legumes play a crucial role in a healthy and sustainable pasture, but only if they are well nodulated and if the nodules are functioning properly,” said Local Land Services Senior Agriculture Advisor, Jo Powells.

“Nodulation occurs when a specific type of bacteria in the soil called rhizobia infect the roots of a legume plant forming a small lump or nodule at the point of contact.

“The rhizobia and legume form a symbiotic relationship but soil conditions such as acidity, fertility and moisture can influence how successful the relationship is.”

“Well nodulated legumes provide a biologically sustainable source of soil nitrogen that can be used to promote the growth of our pastures, consequently providing more feed of higher quality for our livestock.”

“We have learnt a lot over the past ten or so years about the factors that influence legume nodulation and nitrogen fixation and these workshops will focus on what land managers can do to assist with their pasture legume performance.”

The “Knowing Your Nodules” workshops will commence in late September, running from 10.00am to 2.00pm on at the following locations:

Milton – Thursday 26 September

Berry – Friday 27 September

Southern Highlands – Thursday 3 October

Goulburn – Friday 4 October

Bungendore – Saturday 12 October

Braidwood – Monday 14 October

Bega – Thursday 24 October

Moruya – Friday 25 October

ACT – Saturday 26 October

Bombala – Thursday 31 October

Cooma – Friday 1 November

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