Legumes are the powerhouse of pastoral farming systems

With the correct management, legumes have the potential to transform farm businesses while protecting fragile hill country landscapes.

Key considerations when using legumes in your farm system are:

  • Address nutrient deficiencies to allow legumes to photosynthesize and fix nitrogen.
  • Correct management of sub clover is critical to maximise its productive potential in early spring.
  • Talk to seed agents about the cultivars most suited to individual farm environments and systems.
  • Satellite areas within hill country farms can have significant production and environmental advantages.
  • Rotationally graze as soon as possible after lambing to help drive pre-weaning growth rates.
  • legumes can efficiently and sustainably minimise environmental impact.

Optimising resources and utilising them sustainably will generate long term on farm resilience

An important aspect is to understand nitrogen levels in your farm system to how nitrogen deficiency can be addressed. Instead of using imported nitrogen fertiliser, legumes can do this efficiently, sustainably and minimise environmental impact.

Keen to know more?


A big thank you to Derrick Moot (Lincoln University) for taking the lead on this project for New Zealand's sheep and beef farming community. Special thanks to the farmers who actively supported this work.


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