Growing in dry, saline and nutrient deficient conditions
Old Man saltbush is a native, drought-hardy shrub that has traditionally been used in Western Australia for grazing livestock.
However, the shrub's ability to grow in dry, saline and nutrient deficient conditions leaves it less palatable and decreases it nutritional value.
Researchers identified a need to improve its digestibility and relative palpability if it was to be adopted as a widespread component of profitable farming systems.
Anameka™: elite saltbush for livestock and landscape benefits
A multi-organisational R&D and industry collaboration sought to improve Oldman Saltbush’s suitability as a forage supplement and began a saltbush research improvement program in the mid-2000s.
Together with our research partners, we conducted seed collection across Australia, shrub evaluation and clonal selection leading to the release of the elite variety, Anameka™.
Anameka™ was chosen because of its higher energy value and because it has eight times more biomass than others in the collection. Its nutritional profile and improved relative palatability increases voluntary livestock intake, provides higher energy values and increases livestock productivity.
Partners include Chatfields Nursery, Meat & Livestock Australia, state and national agricultural departments and agencies and Cooperative Research Centres.
Improved farm profitability and productivity
Since commercial release in 2014, 325 producers have purchased and planted more than six million Anameka™ shrubs, equivalent to 8,000 hectares.
Building on early adoption and success in Western Australia, Anameka Saltbush is now being adopted across Australia's southeast.
An early evaluation found that the research has the potential to provide at least $12 million in quantifiable first round economic impact as well as reduce farm risk exposure and improve animal health. Economic benefits are expected to accrue through on-farm profitability largely due to increases in wool quantity and decreased supplementary feed costs.
Significant environmental and social benefits are also expected through improved landscape function, improved biodiversity, and improved visual amenity of saline land.