Jester (Medicago truncatulata) is an aphid resistant Barrel Medic. This variety was developed by the South Australian Research and Development Institute as a superior replacement for Jemalong Barrel Medic, which has much improved aphid resistance to Blue-Green Aphid and Spotted Alfalfa Aphid. Jester will provide increased herbage production and pest resistance for low to medium rainfall areas with alkaline soils. It will provide an effective disease break, while providing high quality feed for either hay or grazing purposes and is able to fix nitrogen, which is valuable for subsequent crop rotations. Barrel Medics are better suited to permanent pastures than Snail Medics and have a very high level of hard seed. This ensures good persistence even through cropping phases of a rotation.
Jester is suited to a wide range of soil types from sandy loams to clay loams
Jester has good resistance to both Blue- Green Aphid (Acyrthosiphon kondoi) and Spotted Alfalfa Aphid (Therioaphis trifolii) but is susceptible to Cowpea Aphid (Aphis craccivora). Like most other Medics Jester is susceptible to Red Legged Earth Mite (Halotydens destructor), Lucerne Flea (Sminthurus virdis) and Sitona Weevil (Sitona discoidea) and potentially Root Lesion Nematode (Pratylenchus neglectus). Appropriate control prior to sowing or soon after germination of these insects is required for successful establishment.
Jester has been granted protection under PBR. Unauthorised commercial propagation or any sale, conditioning, export, import or stocking of propagating material of this variety is an infringement under the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994. Heritage Seeds Pty Ltd has an exclusive licence for the production and marketing of Jester.
Jester is generally free of foliar diseases but can occasionally be affected by Black Stem Fungus (Phoma spp.) in undergrazed lush stands. Jester, as with other Medics, suffers from Rhizoctonia (Rhizoctonia spp).
Jester demonstrates high levels of hard seed (up to 90%) and is able to regenerate well in the year after seed set or after a cropping phase. This allows Jester to build up a greater reserve of seed in the soil over time, thus ensuring persistence, particularly in cereal rotations. The levels of hard seed in the soil will soften over a 5-10 year period, which is an extremely important characteristic of medic’s ability to survive over a long period of time in marginal rainfall districts. However, this can limit the level of germination in the year after first sowing as little of the hard seed would have been given sufficient time to breakdown.
Grazing - During establishment defer grazing until plants are well established and then only lightly graze prior to flowering and then remove stock to allow seed set. Summer grazing needs to be managed carefully in the first year, as overgrazing will reduce future regeneration. Once established, Jester persists well under rotational grazing ensuring good early ground cover but also promoting prostrate plant growth. Jester can be grazed in the first year of sowing, providing fresh feed in winter and spring and dry feed in the summer and autumn.