|Box 3.6 The Larsen family cattle - leucaena enterprise in Australia|
Their beef cattle enterprise is a breeding & finishing enterprise comprising 330 high grade Brahman breeders. They market 150 fattened animals to Japan annually plus 150 heifers and cull cows for the domestic trade and American market. Their pastures consist of 1000 ha of leucaena with buffel grass grown inter-row, and they have an additional 1000 ha of buffel only pastures. Leucaena varieties are Peru (815 ha) and Tarramba (185 ha). Leucaena was first planted in August 1985.
Grazing management consists of continuous grazing with about 2 ha/adult equivalent over the whole year. This is a conservative rate and could be doubled in a fattening only operation in better seasons.
Animal performance is excellent with liveweight gains/animal of up to 1.2 kg/animal/day, but an average of 0.8 kg/day in summer and 0.6 kg/day in winter. Finished steers are 2 to 2.5 years of age (2-4 tooth) and average 330 kg dressed weight (best ever was 403 kg dressed with milk teeth).
The Larsen's success in planting leucaena owes much to their innovations with establishment procedures which increased reliability of plantings. They include:
Source: P. Larsen and C. Middleton