Scimitar (Medicago polymorpha) is a hybrid Spineless Burr Medic developed as a superior replacement for Santiago Burr Medic. Scimitar is very productive on highly saline soils which are not subject to prolonged waterlogging and has a more erect growth habit, higher level of soft seed and increased herbage production relative to Santiago. Scimitar will provide increased herbage production and pest resistance for low to medium rainfall areas on a wide range of slightly acidic to 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.
Scimitar demonstrates early to mid season maturity with 85-90 days to flower. This is approximately 7 days later maturing than Santiago.
Scimitar is suited to a wide range of soil types ranging from sandy loams to clay loams.
Scimitar has low resistance to Blue-Green Aphid (Acyrthosiphon kondoi) but is susceptible to Spotted Alfalfa Aphid (Therioaphis trifolii) and Cowpea Aphid (Aphis craccivora). Glasshouse trials have shown moderate resistance to Root Lesion Nematode (Pratylenchus neglectus). Like most other Medics Scimitar is susceptible to Red Legged Earth Mite (Halotydens destructor), Lucerne Flea (Sminthurus virdis) and Sitona Weevil (Sitona discoidea).
Scimitar 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 Scimitar.
Scimitar is generally free of foliar diseases but can be affected by Black Stem Fungus (Phoma spp.) In undergrazed lush stands. Scimitar, as other Medics, can suffer from Rhizoctonia (Rhizoctonia solani).
Scimitar is moderately hard seeded and produces approximately 24% soft seeds, compared to Santiago that has 8.5% soft seed. This will enable Scimitar to regenerate much better during the following year after seed set or after a cropping phase of up to two years compared to Santiago. 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.
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, Scimitar persists well under rotational grazing ensuring good early ground cover but also promoting prostrate plant growth. Scimitar can be grazed in the first year of sowing, providing fresh feed in winter and spring and dry feed in the summer and autumn.