Leucaena feeding systems in Argentina. II. Current uses and future research priorities

Alejandro Radrizzani, Nahuel A. Pachas, Luis Gándara, Fernando Nenning, Dante Pueyo

Abstract


Keynote paper presented at the International Leucaena Conference, 1‒3 November 2018, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

This paper presents the current status of Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena) feeding systems and proposes research priorities for leucaena development in Argentina. Although research on leucaena as forage for cattle production began in the late 1960s, it was not widely adopted until 2010 (5 decades later). The recent adoption is related to the incorporation of the ‘Australian technology package’, previously adapted for use by farmers in the neighboring region of the Paraguayan Chaco. In June 2018, we surveyed 8 properties with about 2,400 ha of leucaena in silvopastoral systems for beef cattle production in the Argentinean Chaco region, as well as 10 smallholder farms with about 10 ha of leucaena protein banks for dairy cattle in the northeast of Argentina. In the silvopastoral systems, leucaena condition was excellent on most properties in the 750‒1,350 mm/year rainfall zone and low/poor on only 1 farm due to low rainfall (600 mm/year). In protein banks, leucaena condition was excellent or good on 6 of the properties and low/poor on the remaining 4, attributed to ingress of weeds and/or overgrazing. Grass condition was good in most of the systems but was low/poor in 2 silvopastoral systems due to very high stocking rates imposed to restrict leucaena height. Although there is high potential for leucaena development in Argentina, expansion should take place carefully with leucaena planted only on areas suitable for successful establishment, and using appropriate management practices to reduce establishment failures and costs, restrict leucaena height, enhance grass persistence, improve grazing strategies and manage mimosine toxicity problems.



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17138/tgft(7)389-396

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