Research

Progardes is a perennial tropical legume blend from the Desmanthus family with superior genetics and diversity. Progardes has been bred and proven in the harshest conditions on clay soils of Northern Australia by Chris Gardiner from James Cook University over more than 20 years.

 

Paddock Proven Results

Progardes research results from Central Queensland location 2011/12

 

Increased Liveweight Gains

Approximately 150 head of cattle grazed either Buffel or Progardes-Buffel grass pasture. Animal live weights were monitored on a monthly basis with animals fed Progardes having the following production advantage over Buffel grass pasture alone:

2011 = 137 days, Progardes animals extra 36 Kg/hd or + 262 g/hd/day
2012 = 131 days, Progardes animals extra 17 Kg/hd or + 128 g/hd/day

The increased value of Progardes to animal production for the trial periods ranged from $30 – $60/animal at $1.85/kg.

 

Note: No positive control

Progardes_Buffel

 

Forage Nutritive analysis

Forage analysis was performed to examine the level of contribution of Progardes to animal production and nutrient cycling. The following tables represent the nutritive content of Progardes within its different plant components, as well as Buffel grass with varying levels of Progardes in the pasture, from samples taken at the start of the 2012 weighing trial (18 May 2012).

 

 

Table 1. Comparison of feed quality between Buffel Grass and Progardes legume

  Buffel

Whole sample (8kg)

Buffel

Whole sample (2kg)

Buffel

Whole sample (control)

Progardes

Average whole sample

% of sample 33% 52% n/a
Protein % (CP) 8.5 6.3 4.2 14.9
Fat % 1.9 2.3 1.7 3.1
ADF % 37.3 38.3 40.1 30.1
NFD % 64.2 62.7 72.5 43.8
Lig % 4.5 3.1 3.7 5.7
NFC % 14.2 15.5 9.7 35.8
IVTD % (24hr) 56 57 54 64.5
NDFD % (24hr) 31 41 26 21.3
ME (MJ @ 1xM) 7.7 8.0 7.5 10.3

 

Table 2. Feed quality of different Progardes legume plant components

  Progardes (8kg/ha)
  Leaf Stem Seed/Pod
% of sample 20% 50% 30%
Protein % (CP) 20.2 11.9 17
Fat % 4.3 2 2.8
ADF % 15 38 26.5
NFD % 7.1 56.5 46
Lig % 5.5 2.7 6.3
NFC % 53 28 35.7
IVTD % (24hr) 81 52 90
NDFD % (24hr) 19 15 78
ME (MJ @ 1xM) 12.4 10.1 10.1

 

Increased Pasture Productivity

Progardes legume fixes nitrogen and cycles nutrients by leaf and pod senescence. One of the key contributors to the reduction of pasture productivity in Brigalow and other soil types is reduced availability of nitrogen and nutrients to feed the Buffel or other improved grass.

Because Progardes is a persistent legume, it has been shown to maintain pasture productivity and result in 200% more dry matter production compared to non-legume grass pastures. This not only ensures greater productivity, but also a reduced need for and cost of mechanical renovation.

 

Figure 2. Sustaining pasture production with legumes

 

sustaining_pasture

For more information on the use of legumes for pasture improvement see MLA’s Improved Pasture resources

 

Increased Profitability

Progardes contributes to the production systems by:

  • provision of nutrients to increase the quality and quantity of grass over a sustained period of time;
  • supplying high protein and energy feed to cattle and particularly in times when nutrients are limiting;
  • reducing the need for supplementation.

 

Turnover and increased liveweight gain:

The quicker cattle reach target weights and are removed from a production system, the quicker new animals can be recruited and stocking rates increase as a result. Progardes increases this turnover rate by increasing the rate at which stock gain weight. Results from trials in Central Queensland, as well as research work on benefits of legumes to grass pasture systems, show that Progardes can achieve a total benefit of 67kg of extra weight gain per head per year. This increases turnover rate by 30%, which would generate $56-$113 per hectare per year of additional income (depending on stocking rate).

 

Reduced supplementation:

The provision of protein from Progardes and increased nutritive quality of grass results in reductions of 20% or more on supplemented mix costs. In a normal season, this equates to around $20 per head per annum.

 

Reduced loss of productivity and cost of renovation:

As a persistent legume, Progardes has been proven to maintain pasture productivity and reduce the need for mechanical renovation and its associated costs. Mechanical renovation treatment costs range from $120-190/ha and are required on a 5-10 year cycle to maintain 75% productivity. By extending the inter-mechanical period, Progardes can save producers $12-38/ha per annum in direct costs.

Table 3. Summary of potential benefits of Progardes in Central Queensland

  Low High
Liveweight gain $15.00 $30.00
Stocking rate $50.00 $110.00
Supplement cost $5.00 $10.00
Renovation cost $12.00 $38.00
Total $82.00 $188.00

The above mentioned productivity gains and reduced maintenance costs mean the dollar value benefit of Progardes in Central Queensland ranges from a $82- $180 per hectare per annum.