Medicago sativa

Lucerne (Clemson, p.202) is a crop which beekeepers are utilising for honey production. Many lucerne seed producers are contracting beekeepers to pollinate their seed crops. This is a benefit to the industry, as additional income is obtained from this crop.

A two-sample test of lucerne pollen indicated a crude protein level of 20% to 24% and a very low level of the amino-acid iso-leucine (Table 39). Reports from beekeepers indicate that bees do not collect large quantities of lucerne pollen.

Bees working lucerne are under high stress, from high midsummer temperatures, variable honey production, and a pollen that is not very good. Reports are that bees tend not to breed very well on lucerne only.

Warren Jones from Dubbo (personal comment), reported that bees on lucerne breed satisfactory if fed vitamin-fortified soyflour at the rate of 100 grams per hive per week.

Table 39: Lucerne - Medicago sativa

Minimum % of Amino-Acid from De Groot (1953)
1989 Dubbo
1989 Dubbo
Threonine 3.0font 3.6  3.3 
Valine 4.0 4.0  3.3*
Methionine 1.5 1.6  1.4 
Leucine 4.5 5.4  5.0 
Iso-leucine 4.0 3.1* 2.7*
Phenylalanine 2.5 3.3  3.1 
Lysine 3.0 5.5  5.6 
Histidine 1.5 2.9  3.2 
Arginine 3.0 5.2  4.5 
Tryptophan 1.0 1.4  1.6 
Crude protein - 24.1% 20.0%

* Low level of this amino-acid

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