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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

Experiments with Lucerne

Experiments with Lucerne.

There has probably been no experimental work at Ruakura which will prove more valuable to the country, commercially speaking, than the experiments which have been carried out in the cultivation of lucerne, or, as it is called in America, alfalfa. This forage crop, for productive yield and feeding value for all kinds of stock, is well-known wherever it can be successfully grown. Belonging to the family of the legumes, it is, moreover, an improver of the soil by its nitrogen-fixing qualities and its deep root action. In such cultural conditions as obtain in California, the Argentine and most parts of Australia, namely, rich soil and a hot and dry climate—lucerne is the crop par excellence for stock-feeding purposes. It was not at all certain, however, that it would give satisfactory results as compared with other forage crops under the climatic and soil conditions of the Waikato and other districts of the North Island. At Ruakura a number of varieties or strains of lucerne have been, and' are being tested, amongst which are the Peruvian, Hunter River. Arabian and the so-called "colonial" strain. The latter is from seed grown at Marlborough, in the South Island, and very likely was originally grown there from Hunter River seed.