Dry Feed From Prunings

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Nothing is wasted on these trees

Every branch pruned in the field to maintain the optimum tree height at 1.5m is carried into a storeroom to dry. 15f

Even the small cuttings pruned from our trees in potting bags is collected for dry feed.

(We cut our small trees still in their bags to stimulate side branch growth to form a bushy tree, rather than a long, lanky tree.)

Within 3 days the branches have dried out and with a couple good knocks against the wall, every leaf falls down, leaving neat bare branches.  (A nice rainy-day job!)

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We mix our leaves with some crushed mealies, some molasses and a scoop of salt and store our finishing mix in bags. And every stock farmer knows the great benefit of a good finishing mix for their lambs!

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So, keep your trees short, promote side growth and collect food for storage – a win! win! win! with lucerne trees!

Happy Farming!

10 month old Lucerne trees

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These trees which were established in January are showing excellent growth at 10 months!

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They have not yet been grazed, but have been pruned twice to maintain 1m height and encourage lateral growth.  Pruning encourages the tree to bush and prevents the tree from growing too tall and spindly for your livestock to utilize.

Happy Farming!

Roots – your most important growth factor!

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Many new lucerne tree farmers plant their seeds into shallow seed trays, but if you look at the following photos, you will realize that the roots are more aggressive in their growth than the leaves.

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In fact, those green leaves and shoots you see sprouting out of the soil is an indication of the depth of soil needed for the roots.

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This lucerne tree has an incredible tap root and side root structure. These seeds need deep 30cm trays or crates filled with coarse river sand.

Prune the growth tips of your small trees to encourage side branching when your tree reaches about 15cm.  You’ll soon notice new buds develop all along the stem!

Remember that you do not add any fertilizer to your potting soil.

When you plant out your seedlings, never pull the tree up out of the soil. This strips and damages the roots, especially the fine root hairs. Most transplanted trees with this type of damage do not survive. Rather scoop deep under the little trees and lay the seedlings on their sides loosely, and gently separate each seedling. Using a nice deep stick or dibber, make a suitably wide deep hole in the potting bag soil and gently ease the roots straight down into the hole. Gently firm the soil around your seedling and water.

When you plant out your potted trees, try preserve most the soil around the roots and make a suitable deep hole in the ground.  Fill the hole with water before placing your tree into the hole. Fill and gently firm the soil around the base.

Happy farming!

After Grazing

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We shared how our 100 ewes enjoyed 4 days on the half hectare of 8-month-old lucerne trees.

This is the “Before” ~

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And here is the “After” ~

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In just 50 days, these bare branches will be full of soft, fresh new leaves and ready for grazing!

These trees bounce back!

It is truly a fabulous year-round food!

Happy Farming!

Wonderful Feed

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We have recently put a 100 ewes in half a hectare of 8-month-old trees which were established in August 201220130418_101730

The sheep grazed on these trees for 4 days, and devoured them!

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(Click to follow us – we’ll share the “after” photos soon!)

What we must consider is that the trees are only 8 months old and there are absolutely no grasses between the trees. The Lucerne trees were the sole grazing.

By next year the same hectare will give us 12 day’s grazing when some grasses are established between the trees.

Happy farming!

New Lucerne Field 8 Months Later

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Here are the Lucerne trees planted out in early spring August last year.

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Just 8 months later they are ready for grazing.

Irrigated with dripper lines and pruned to 1m encourage lateral branches,

these trees have flourished.

Scroll down to  August 23, 2012 to see how the trees looked when they were planted.

Happy Farming!

New Names? Same Tree!

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There are no new varieties of Tagasaste or Tree Lucerne that require different growing conditions or which will give better yields because of the different types.

The same tree lucerne under different circumstances, ie: irrigation, climate, soil, pruning or grazing will appear differently, but the nutritional properties will remain the same.

Clients often ask whether we have the “Cattle” type or the “Sheep” type tree. The “Sheep” type refers to a hybrid called “Weeping Tagasaste” which is a smaller, shrub-like version of the Tree Lucerne.  It does not carry the same yields, and we do not stock this type of tree or seed.

Furthermore, clients recently enquire about the latest names ~  “Cattle Candy“, “Kalahari Green“, and “Kilimanjaro” tree lucerne.  These are newly created trade names used by an aggressive marketing campaign, but are all the same thing ~ Tree Lucerne!

Don’t allow yourself to be mis-informed or persuaded to think that you’ll get better yields or better adaptability by planting any of these new trade names.

They are simply the same tree!

Flowering!

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Our first flowers have appeared!

It is late winter and our mountains glisten with snow.

New life has budded on our trees.

These flowers closely resemble the pea and sweet pea flowers, also family of the legume plants.

They give off a delicate and lovely scent.

  Small white flowers open and soon the trees will be buzzing with bees.

These trees will attract numerous bees to our farm and gardens.

Yet another wonderful benefit of this amazing tree.

And, in the months to come, these flowers develop into brown seed pods …

In abundance!

Order your seeds and trees now … ready for your spring planting.

Happy Farming!