Lucerne is a perennial legume with a taproot that gives the plant access to water and nutrients deep in the soil profile. This gives the plant superior drought tolerance and preference over grasses in lower rainfall areas.
Lucerne is a multi-purpose plant that can be either grazed in situ or conserved as hay/silage to feed during times of the year when pasture quality or diet protein levels are low. Lucerne has excellent stock acceptance and produces impressive yields of high-quality feed.
Lucerne can extract rather than leach nitrate i.e. “clean up” N contaminated sites. This is due to its taproot extracting N at soil depths greater than other pasture species’ root systems. This extraction can be used advantageously in areas near waterways where leaching is potentially an issue or in areas that receive high applications of nitrogen such as dairy effluent areas. This benefit is not currently captured well but is an option to incorporate into farming systems.Source: Prof. Derrick Moot