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Evaluation and selection of Australian Cullen species for perennial pasture legumes in Western Australia
Cullen is a genus of legumes with many species that are native to Australia, perennial and herbaceous, but that are largely unknown to agriculture.
Some of these species are potentially useful perennial pastures and could be used to feed animals throughout the year in dry areas or on difficult soil types where no other perennial pastures will grow.
My thesis will screen Australian Cullen species for their potential to provide a new perennial legume pasture species using desktop studies, field trials in WA's Wheatbelt, and glasshouse trials.
Perennial pastures can help farmers to manage dryland salinity, prevent erosion and improve animal health and productivity, but there are currently no species that can be used by farmers in areas with low rainfall, long, dry summers or acidic soil types.
Native plants might be naturally adapted to these stresses, and so could offer a way for these farmers to improve the sustainability of their farms, while still providing a profit.
Sustainable farms mean that Australia's agriculture industry is better off; and more productive and sustainable animal faming can mean that products like meat, wool and milk are cleaner, greener and cheaper, benefiting consumers.