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The Clover Reporter

The Grass10 team would like to introduce you to a new section of the newsletter, The Clover Reporter. This section will give weekly reports and videos from farmers who have a lot of clover established on their farms. These farms are continuing to establish more clover into their grass-clover swards for animal performance and nitrogen reduction gains. We will keep you updated on the challenges and opportunities they face on their journey. 

The Management and establishment of grass-white clover swards booklet discusses and sets out the principles for the management and establishment of grass-white clover swards so that the benefits can be achieved at farm level.

Name:  Trevor Boland
Location:  Sligo
Enterprise:  Suckler - Beef
Soil Type:  Clay
% Farm In Clover:  %  (ha)  50%
% From Reseeding:  % (ha) 0
% From Oversowing: % (ha) 50%
Clover content 2021: % on ha 25%

Management of existing grass- clover swards during Autumn build up

I have an autumn calving suckler herd, so demand for grass from the cows will increase into August and September.  I am currently building grass covers to see me into winter. 

Weanling bulls are sold, and beef heifers are coming near fit for slaughter off grass, so the concentration it on getting enough grass on the farm for the freshly calved cows.  Second cut silage is complete and there is only a small amount of grass left to be baled for silage from surplus paddocks. 

 

Update on 2022 oversown and reseeded swards

Clover content has increased across the farm and no fertiliser has been spread since early June.  No further fertiliser spreading is planned at this stage and the hope is that the increased clover content will provide enough nitrogen to keep grass growth rates ahead of demand. As beef stock are sold off and the number of groups of animals reduced, the demand for grass is mainly from the suckler cows.  These cows need a quality supply of grass prior to housing and the start of breeding.

 

Fertiliser/Slurry strategy for the autumn for clover

There is a small amount of slurry on the farm to spread where second cut silage was taken.  I also intend to spread some lime where needed to correct pH levels. 

Growth is ahead of demand at the moment and will continue to be monitored to ensure no shortage of grass arises.


Name:  Kevin Moran
Location:  Caherlistrane, Co. Galway
Enterprise:  Dairy
Soil Type:  Mixed but mostly sandy loam with some heavy soils
% Farm In Clover:  65%  68(ha)
% From Reseeding:  7% 8(ha)
% From Oversowing: 58% 60(ha)
Clover content 2022: 25% on 60ha

Management of existing grass- clover swards during Autumn build up

Grass clover swards that are in year 2 or more and have a clover content greater than 25% are receiving 9kgs of N/Ha per month. Soiled water, lagoon slurry and dairy washings are providing the majority of this. Fully developed swards will be allowed grow to 1400-1500 in Autumn but will carry a low cover over winter. We use any pdks that have no clover to carry our heaviest covers over winter.

 Update on 2022 oversown and reseeded swards

2022 oversown/reseeds are doing very well, they got rain at the right times and were kept grazed at 1000 PGY. They have a clover content now of 20-30% however are still receiving full rate nitrogen as the clover plant itself still appears to be immature looking. These pdks will not carry a cover any higher than 1200 throughout Autumn and will carry the lowest covers over winter.

 

Fertiliser/Slurry strategy for the autumn for clover

Fully developed swards with high clover content are receiving 9kgs/N/Month. Most of which is coming via slurry. This years oversown pdks and non clover pdks are getting 18kgs/N/Month.

We are also looking at Paturebase and how much P and K each paddock has received year to date and then based on their soil samples and how much silage came from them this year we will decide which require 0-10-20 or 0-7-30.

 

 


William Dennehy, Co. Kerry - 26-07-22

22-03-22Name: William Dennehy
Location: Currow, Castleisland, Co. Kerry
Soil Type: Medium Soils in a high rainfall area
2021 % Farm in Clover: 36% (11.89 Ha)
% from Reseeding: 33% (3.9Ha)
% from Oversowing: 67% (7.99Ha)
Clover content 2021: 17%
Total % Farm in Clover: 45%

Management of existing grass-clover swards for the summer: Things are going well, I have the same grass grown as last year with less chemical N.

Growth is matching demand. Some paddocks stitched in last year – 3 paddocks doing very well, one doing poorly – from what I gather the most critical thing is I’m stitching in too late. I’m not stitching until May and I think if I did a month earlier it would take better. This was the first clover put in on the farm. The clover content was 25% on the good ones earlier this month. The poor paddock was 5%.

4 paddocks full reseeded last year. 3 of these got half rate N at 10-12u N/ac. These are 25% clover too. One has nearly 40% clover and it got 50u N/ac up until late April but only parlour washings and P and K afterwards. The tonnage is right up there in this paddock, it could even be a bit ahead.

Management of 2022 oversown paddocks: I oversowed 3 paddocks this year – 2 are good, one is borderline. Half-rate N on these as well. It’s important to do a small bit and do it right. It’s hard to graze everywhere at 1,000 kg DM/ha at the same time.

Management of 2022 reseeded paddocks: Full reseed this year of 5ac with astonenergy, nashota and chieftain. It was sowed the 13th May and looking super. It got 2 bags of 10-10-20 at reseeding plus a bag of 18-6-12 about 3 weeks after sowing. It’s on a half-rate of N too. It’s been grazed twice already and will need to be grazed again this week at 1,000 Kg DM/ha.

Willie’s Top tip: I’ll be applying some potash (K) on all clover paddocks in the next few weeks. Listening to the advice from farmers and researchers it needs it and it does help.


Peter Doyle, Derrypatrick Herd Grange - 19-07-22

Newsletter 22-02-22Name: Peter Doyle
Location: Derrypatrick Herd, Teagasc Grange, Co. Meath
Enterprise: Suckler calf-to-beef
Soil Type: Brown earth
2021 Clover Details
% Farm In Clover: 50% grass-clover (32 ha) (other 50 % is grass only for trial purposes)
% From Reseeding: 53% (17 ha)
% From Oversowing: 47% (15 ha)
Clover content: 10%

Management of existing grass- clover swards for the summer
Continue to graze covers of 1400 kg DM/ha down to 4 cm. Soil fertility will be corrected where necessary to optimise clover persistence.

Management of 2022 oversown paddocks
We are very happy with the oversown paddocks to date this year. However, the current soil moisture deficit is causing significant stress on this year’s oversown clover, so we are hoping for a good spell of rain to prevent any further damage. The newly established clover roots are strongly anchored into the ground at this stage so we are grazing the paddocks good and tight to maximise light exposure. On average we have applied 15 kg N/ha on ground since it was oversown. Currently we are fortunate to have a good grass supply on the farm so we are applying no chemical N on the oversown clover for July.

Management of 2022 reseeded paddocks
Clovermax was successfully applied to swards 5 weeks post reseeding and when rain was forecasted (to avoid spraying during heat stress). However, clovermax does not kill chickweed and if not controlled chickweed can smother out establishing clover. Therefore, we are currently grazing the reseeds to 4 cm and below to remove the chickweed from the sward. Fields reseeded in mid-May have been grazed twice to-date (see picture above).


Ger Pardy, Co. Offaly - 12-07-22

Location:  Birr, Co. Offaly
Enterprise:  
Dairy
Soil Type:  
Dry & Clay soils
% Farm In Clover:  
100% (78ha) – (>60% enough to reduce N)
% From Reseeding:  
10% (8ha)
% From Oversowing: 
90% (70ha)
Clover content 2021: 
23% on best. 12% on remainder

Management of existing grass- clover swards for the summer
About 30% of the dairy platform has only received 20u N/ac to date. There is a lot of clover in these paddocks. About 20-25% in April and that has increased to about 50% now. The percentage of clover in these paddocks is what's driving grass growth. These were oversown over the past 5 years and some were topped up if I felt the clover percentage dropped a bit low. My weekly grass walks are quantifying the grass growth in these paddocks are they are holding their own.

The other clover paddocks have about 17-25% clover now are getting 10u N/ac each round. Their growth rates are normal and keeping up with demand. I can’t afford to not have these paddocks growing well.

Management of 2022 oversown paddocks
We’ve oversown another 15% of the grazing block in early April. They received about 35u N/ac up to that point and since then we skipped 2 months of Nitrogen to let the clover get established. They went pale, quality was poorer, and growth suffered but clover got a good establishment. We went with one bag 18-6-12 and watery slurry last month, and with 10u N/ac this month. These paddocks still need N to feed the grass and clover, it will be next year before we can reduce chemical N properly.

Grazing management afterwards is key going in at 800-1000 kg DM/ha for the first 3 grazings has been the biggest learning for me.

Management of 2022 reseeded paddocks
I reseeded 15 acres (7% of grazing block) with 10kg Astonenergy (PRG), 2kg Buddy (white clover), and 2kg Aberclaret (red clover). I’ve never reseeded with red clover before, but hoping the red clover will fix nitrogen quicker and pay for itself in the first couple of years before it dies out. I’m not saying that what I’m doing is right but unless I try I won’t find out. I feel clover is somewhat farm specific.


Name: Brian McCarthy
Location: Clonakilty Agricultural College, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Enterprise: Dairy
Soil Type: Predominantly light loam soils
% Farm In Clover:  37% (31 ha; half of the research area is grass-only for experimental purposes)
% From Reseeding:  90% (28 ha)
% From Oversowing: 10% (3 ha)
Clover content 2021: 20% on 31 ha

Management of existing grass- clover swards for the summer

Existing grass – clover swards are receiving 11 units/acre after grazing. A certain amount of paddocks will also get 2,500 gallons/acre of slurry as well as the fertiliser. The target is to graze these swards at 1,500 kg DM/ha and graze down to 4 cm. The recent dry weather has stressed the grass and a lot of stem is being pushed up even where there is good clover. However, the rain last week is starting to green up the farm again.

 

Management of 2022 oversown paddocks
We only oversowed paddocks last week (29th June) in Clonakilty. We oversowed 36% of the farm. This is probably too much to do at the one time but opportunities have been limited to oversow as the weather has been very dry since the end of March. There were a few short windows in April and May when ground conditions were suitable to oversow, but we missed these. After the rain the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of June we took a chance that there would be good moisture in the ground and conditions would be suitable for oversowing last week. We won’t be able to preferentially manage all the paddocks but hopefully we should be able to graze a certain amount of these paddocks at covers of less than 1,100 kg DM/ha, and reduce nitrogen fertiliser to 10 or 11 units/acre after each grazing to encourage clover establishment. This will help increase clover content on the farm overall. (see picture of new clover seedling establishment)

 

Management of 2022 reseeded paddocks

Reseeded paddocks will be grazed at covers of around 1,200 kg DM/ha for the first number of grazings to encourage tillering. We will spread 10-15 units of nitrogen after grazing for the first number of grazing’s to help grass and clover establishment.


Lawrence Sexton, Co. Cork - 21-06-22

Location:  Kilbrittain, West Cork
Enterprise:  Dairy
Soil Type:  Dry – Free Draining

In 2021: 
% Farm In Clover:  70% (90Ha)
% From Reseeding:  45% (40Ha)
% From Oversowing:  55% (50Ha)
Clover content: 15.5% on 90Ha

Management of existing grass-clover swards for the summer: Clover paddocks are now receiving 10 units of N up to now. Grass/Clover supply on the farm over the last few weeks have been very tight.

Pre-grazing yield was 1,100Kg DM/Ha across the farm so this should promote clover. The next round of fertiliser is going to be a K product and nitrogen will be skipped on grass-clover paddocks.

Management of 2022 oversown paddocks: A small percentage of the farm was oversown in dry conditions and, as of yet, the clover in these paddocks has been slow to grow. The farm experienced very dry conditions and is a coastal dry sandy farm in nature.

 

Management of 2022 reseeded paddocks: These paddocks are really starting to take off. With low grass supply on the farm, the pre-grazing yield of these paddocks have remained at 1,100kg DM/ha which is ideal for tillering. The next application of nutrients will be parlour washings.

 


Trevor Boland, Co. Sligo - 21-06-22

Name:  Trevor Boland 
Location:  Co. Sligo
Enterprise:  Suckler and Beef
Soil Type:  Clay
% Farm In Clover:  50%
% From Reseeding:  0%
% From Oversowing:  100%

Management of existing grass-clover swards for the summer: Grazing tight and not allowing covers go too high. Rotation is at about 14 days for the last month.  1 bag of 18-6-12 spread at start of June which was the first application since April.  The aim is to limit fertiliser use for the rest of the year and match grass demand to growth.  Grass growth rates are at 45kgs/DM/ha/day for the last week and demand is 42kgs/day.

Some paddocks are showing signs of grass under stress and in order to restore quality, these paddocks will be topped. All surplus paddocks have been cut for bales at this stage, so it is now a matter of resetting and ensuring quality grass is available for the next couple of months.

Poor quality grass will affect liveweight gain, which may not be noticeable while herding day to day, but will be noticeable when it comes to housing or selling of weanlings.

Total grass grown to date this year is ahead of 2021, with a similar number of bales in the yard.  Silage ground is closed for second cut silage.

Management of 2022 oversown paddocks: As above


Jim White, Co. Tipperary - 14-06-22

1st Feb NewsletterName: Jim White
Location: Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Enterprise: Dairy
Soil Type: Dry Soils
% Farm In Clover: 
32% (21.4ha)
% From Reseeding: 
49% (10.4ha)
% From Oversowing: 
51% (11ha)
Clover content 2021: 
18% on 21.4ha

 

Management of existing grass- clover swards for the summer: I’m putting out protected urea at 10u N/ac on paddocks oversown with clover last year. The contractor is coming twice per month now and doing half the farm each time, one half is lower rate for clover. Currently on a 19 rotation and pregrazing yield from the PastureBase Farm Summary Report is 1268 kgDM/ha. I have fertiliser up to date on PastureBase also showing total 121Kg N/ha (97u N/ac) applied across the farm, including slurry, with 4.3 grazings per paddock with 5.5 T DM/ha grown across the farm.

Management of 2022 oversown paddocks: Clover is flying it with heat and rain. But there is a bit of compromise on grass-clover swards in first year of establishment. Cows work hard to get grass into them when they are going into lighter covers 800-1000 kgDM/ha for clover establishment. I make sure that they go into covers 1,300-1,400 kgDM/ha at night so they’re eating enough. I wouldn’t let them into those light covers for two grazings in a row. These paddocks are getting 10-15u N/ac every rotation.

Jim’s Top Tip: Clover plants can be walked on by cows and it won’t bother them - but they need light – so grazing light covers is key. There’s great satisfaction in walking the farm and getting down and opening back the sward and watching the clover grow. When I’m looking at the clover, I’m keeping an eye on my investment!


 

The Clover Reporter

Name:  Kevin Moran
Location:  Caherlistrane Co. Galway
Enterprise:  Dairy Farming
Soil Type:  mix of free draining and clayey type soils

% Farm In Clover: 50 % 53 (ha)
% From Reseeding: 0 % (ha)
% From Oversowing: 50% 53 (ha)
Clover content 2021: 25 - 30% on 25ha

Management of existing grass- clover swards for the summer

Clover paddocks that were oversown last year and have a high clover content, 25% or more are receiving 9kgs/N/Ha per month all summer. I found covers were looking very depleted, yellow and purple. I applied some sulphur with the last N application and am delighted with the immediate response although I am unsure was it the sulphur or increase in temperature that has helped.

 

Management of 2022 oversown paddocks

These paddocks are receiving 18 units of N/acre after each grazing as are non - clover paddocks. The freshly oversown paddocks are getting grazed at 1100 Kg DM/Ha and drip fed some P and K via lagoon slurry or 18-6-12

 Management of 2022 reseeded paddocks

I have 3 paddocks identified to reseed. They were sprayed off with glyphosate last week and are being cut for silage now. They will be reseeded immediately after cutting


William Dennehy, Co. Kerry - 31-5-22

Name: William Dennehy
Location: Currow, Castleisland, Co. Kerry
Soil Type: Medium Soils in a high rainfall area
2021 % Farm in Clover: 36% (11.89 Ha)
% from Reseeding: 33% (3.9Ha)
% from Oversowing: 67% (7.99Ha)
Clover content 2021: 17%

Clover Management for Existing Swards: Grazing at 13-1400 Kg DM/ha. They are powering ahead with more clover in them each rotation. One paddock I took out and baled as I had too much surplus and the clover is flying back. They are receiving little N at the minute as clover seems to be doing its job they are growing very well in the current conditions. They got some parlour washings and they are getting their P and K requirement.

Clover Management for new swards: I oversowed half and reseeded the other half. I’m consistently grazing them at covers of 1000 KgDM/ha. They are getting 8u N/ac each round.

What % Grazing Block: 10% (3.2ha)
Why These Paddocks:
They are open swards, both drier paddocks with good access in the spring.
Soil Fertility Status:
One paddock is borderline Index 3 for P, so got some extra P fertiliser. The rest is at optimum. The reseed got 2T lime/ac.
Clover varieties:
 Chieftain (medium leaf), Coolfin (small leaf)
Seeding Rate/Ac: 2kg/ac for oversowing, 1.5Kg for reseeding
Method for 2022:  Oversowing- Einboch, Reseeding – disc and harrow with seeder
Top Tip for Clover in May:  I hear a lot of farmers oversowing big areas of their farms with clover this year. I believe do a smaller area and do it right. This means grazing these covers at 1000 KgDM/ha for the first summer. This is extremely hard to do on a big area.


Ger Pardy, Co. Offaly - 24-05-2022

Location:  Birr, Co. Offaly
Enterprise: 
Dairy
Soil Type: 
Dry & Clay soils
% Farm In Clover: 
100% (78ha) – (>60% enough to reduce N)
% From Reseeding: 
10% (8ha)
% From Oversowing: 
90% (70ha)
Clover content 2021: 
23% on best. 12% on remainder
Clover Plan for 2022

Clover Management for Existing Swards:  60% of the farm has clover content >20%, which so far this year has received 20u N/ac plus 4,000 gal/ac of watery slurry. With good growth it received no chemical N this rotation. These paddocks last year grew around 13.5 T DM/ha on 55u N/ac chemical fertiliser plus some slurry. If I feel they need fertiliser N I will apply it, my main priority is to feed the cows.

Clover Management for new swards: This year’s oversown paddocks got a great strike with the rain we got. Cows are grazing normal covers at night and the oversown clover paddocks by day at around 800 KgDM/ha. This is the second grazing on these paddocks since oversowing. They got 0.5 bag/ac of 0-10-20 and no chemical N since sowing as grass growth rates have been extremely high, and I want to give clover a chance to establish. Once grass growth comes back to normal I will apply some N fertiliser.
What % Grazing Block:
15% oversown and 7% reseeded
Why These Paddocks:
Had no clover
Soil Fertility Status:
Index 3 & 4 for P & K, and they are OK for lime too
When: Started oversowing the end of March and finished the 20th April
Clover varieties:
 Buddy and Crusader (both medium leaf size)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2 kg/ac - oversown, 2 kg/ac white clover + 2kg red clover - reseed
Method for 2022: Reseed – Plough & till (needed to level paddock), Oversow - Einboch

Top Tip for Clover in May: I know all farmers should be out anyway, but for clover you really have to be out in the paddocks measuring them to see what way growth is going and getting a visual of what’s happening. I’m responding with fertiliser rates depending on the conditions, if it needs it, it gets it, if I can get away without it, all the better. My first priority is still to feed my cows.


Peter Doyle, Teagasc Grange - 17-05-22

Newsletter 22-02-22Name: Peter Doyle
Location: Derrypatrick Herd, Teagasc Grange, Co. Meath
Enterprise: Suckler calf-to-beef
Soil Type: Brown earth
% Farm In Clover: 50% grass-clover (32 ha) (other 50 % is grass only for trial purposes)
% From Reseeding: 53% (17 ha)
% From Oversowing: 47% (15 ha)
Clover content 2021: 10%
Clover Plan for 2022

Clover Management for Existing Swards:  Reducing nitrogen application on these swards to a half rate (9 kg N/ha). Grazing in dry conditions where possible and graze them to 4 cm to encourage light penetration.
Clover Management for new swards: Regarding this year’s stitched in paddocks, the clover seed is germinating relatively quickly, with cotyledons appearing within less than a week of sowing, due to ideal weather conditions. No chemical N has been applied on these paddocks since oversown. We were fortunate that all oversown paddocks received adequate rain. Paddocks are being grazed during dry conditions at lower covers (800 kg DM/ha/day).
What % Grazing Block: Up to mid-May, 12 ha (20 % of the farm) has been stitched in this year and a further 12 ha has been reseeded. The remaining planned areas will be stitched by the end of May.
Why These Paddocks: The stitched in paddocks were chosen as they had low weed infestation and low clover content in them. Soil fertility is also suitable in these paddocks for clover. The reseeding paddocks were chosen as productivity was poor (not reseeded in the last 12 years) compared to other paddocks and we wanted to successfully establish red clover in our silage ground.
Soil Fertility Status: pH 6.4, P – index 3 & 4, K index - 3 & 4.
When: Reseeding occurred the start of May. Weather and soil conditions were excellent. Oversown began on 13th April and will finish by the end of May. 
Clover varieties:  Chieftain (medium leaf) and coolfin (small leaf)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  5 kg/ha (reseed) and 6 kg/ha (oversown)
Method for 2022: Reseed - power harrow x 2, sow, roll; Oversow - Einbock and roll, did not apply water slurry due to frequent rain showers.
Top Tip for Clover in May: Regarding clover that was oversown this spring, the aim is to:

  • Avoid grazing in wet conditions to avoid damaging emerging clover.
  • Monitor grazing events to avoid damaging/removing clover from the soil as cattle graze out the lower sward horizon.
  • Graze at a lower cover (800 kg DM/ha/day) to avoid the grass smothering out the emerging clover. Need to keep a close eye on this when grass growth is high in May.


Brian McCarthy Teagasc Clonakilty, Co. Cork

10-5-2022

Name: Brian McCarthy
Location: Clonakilty Agricultural College, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Enterprise: Dairy
Soil Type: Predominantly light loam soils
% Farm In Clover:  37%  (31 ha; half of the research area is grass-only for experimental purposes)
% From Reseeding:  90% (28 ha)
% From Oversowing: 10% (3 ha)
Clover content 2021: 20% on 31 ha

Clover Plan for 2022

Clover Management for Existing Swards:  Reduce nitrogen to 10 units/acre after grazing on clover paddocks and keep pre-grazing yields to 1,400 to 1,500 kg DM/ha. This will help us to graze down to 4 cm to allow light to the base of the sward.

Clover Management for new swards:
What % Grazing Block:
5% will be reseeded this week and another 5% will be reseeded in 2 week’s time. We will oversow 10% of the farm in the next week.
Why These Paddocks:
The paddocks we are reseeding had a low clover content in them and the perennial ryegrass content was also low with a lot of weed grasses in the swards. They were poor performing paddocks. The paddocks we will oversow have some clover in them but we need to increase the clover content in them. Soil fertility is good in these paddocks and the swards aren’t too dense.

Soil Fertility Status: Reseeded paddocks pH -  6.4, P – Index 4, K - Index 3, oversown paddocks pH -  6.6, P – Index 4, K - Index 4
When:
Reseeding - the next two weeks, oversowing – in the next week
Clover varieties:
  Chieftain (medium leaf size) and Crusader (medium leaf size)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2 kg/ac - oversown, 2 kg/ac - reseed
Method for 2022: Reseed – discing, power-harrow and sow, Oversow – broadcast with fertiliser spreader and a bag of 0-10-20/acre.

Top Tip for Clover in May: 

Keep pre-grazing yields low and graze to 4 cm. Reduce nitrogen to a half rate on paddocks that have some clover in them to help increase clover content.

 


Lawrence Sexton

Name:  Lawrence Sexton              
Location: 
Kilbrittain, West Cork
Enterprise: 
Dairy
Soil Type: 
Dry – Free Draining
% Farm In Clover: 
70% (90ha)
% From Reseeding: 
45% (40ha)
% From Oversowing: 
55% (50ha)
Clover content 2021: 
15.5% on 90ha

Clover Plan for 2022
Clover Management for Existing Swards: The clover looks great on the farm at the minute. We are keeping pregrazing yields to a max. of 1300 KgDM/ha and grazing as tight as possible to leave light into the base of the clover plant.

What % Grazing Block: 18% oversown two weeks ago and 8% reseeded two weeks ago
Why These Paddocks: Oversown - grass was good in these paddocks along being high in pH, P and K. Reseeded paddocks – poor performers in annual tonnage report
Clover varieties:
  Crusader (medium leaf), Buddy (medium leaf)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2.0 kg/ac - oversown, 1.5 kg/ac - reseed
Method for 2022: Reseed – One-pass, Oversow - Einboch

Top Tip for Clover in May: Keep pre grazing max 1300 KgDM/ha on clover paddocks. If oversowing, ensure moisture is available in the ground and rain is forecast. Reducing chemical N to 13u N/acre per round and this should get the clover working for me.


Name: Trevor Boland
Location: Sligo
Enterprise: Suckler/Beef
Soil Type:  Clay
% Farm In Clover:  25%  (ha)
% From Reseeding:  0% (ha)
% From Oversowing: 100% (ha)
Clover varieties:  (leaf size) Buddy & Chieftain
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2kg/ac - oversown,
Methods Used: Oversown on grazing ground after cattle grazed paddock.

 

Clover Plan for 2022

Clover Management for Existing Swards:  Going in to graze at 10cm and graze down to 4cm in two or three days. Aiming to get a tight grazing in this round to ensure quality grass available in the next round of grazing.

Clover Management for new swards: Repeat what worked last year. Oversow with clover after grazing and reduce nitrogen for the rest of the year. Ensure good grazing management, three week rotation and not too heavy a cover on paddocks pre grazing.
What % Grazing Block:
 75% (25ha)
Why These Paddocks: 
Aiming to reduce fertiliser use and get maximum weight gain on bulls grazing these paddocks

Paddock Soil Fertility: pH - 6.3, P – Index 2 or 3, K- Index 3 or 4
When: April when conditions right (temperature and moisture)
Clover varieties:
  Buddy and Chieftain (medium leaf sizes)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2 kg/ac - oversown
Method for 2022:  Oversow
Trevor Top Tip for Clover in April:  Graze paddocks down tight and follow with clover by oversowing.  Half rate nitrogen so as not to let the grass get too strong ahead of the clover. Maintain grazing management, ensure paddock are correct size to ensure 2-3 days grazing in each paddock.

 Current Grass Situation

"I have an AFC of 514 Kg DM/Ha currently, with about 13 days grass ahead. It is a little bit tight for my liking but warmer weather is expected towards the weekend so I should be ok. In anticipation of warmer weather, I am spreading 2 bags per acre of 18.6.12. These paddocks had recieved 23 units of UREA in early March. Growth is 45 Kg DM/Ha and Demand is 39 Kg Dm/Ha"

 


1st Feb NewsletterName: Jim White
Location: Clonmel, Co.Tipperary
Enterprise: Dairy
Soil Type: Dry Soils
% Farm In Clover: 32%  (21.4ha)
% From Reseeding: 49% (10.4ha)
% From Oversowing: 51% (11ha)
Clover content 2021: 18% on 21.4ha

Clover Plan for 2022

Clover Management for Existing Swards:  Grazing them at the right covers around 1200-1400 Kg DM/ha is the key thing now. It’s easy to say it, but doing it every day on the ground is the challenge. The plan is to reduce fertiliser use on these paddocks in the summer.
Clover Management for new swards: The paddocks I am oversowing with clover this year are all beside each other in one block. This makes it easier for grazing and fertiliser management throughout the year.
What % Grazing Block:
16% (11ha)
Why These Paddocks:
Good soil fertility, in one block, open swards, no weed burden
Paddock Soil Fertility:
pH - 6.6, P – Index 4, K- Index 3
When:
April when conditions right (temperature and moisture)
Clover varieties:
  Buddy and Chieftain (medium leaf sizes)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2 kg/ac - oversown
Method for 2022:  Oversow - Mooredrill
Jim’s Top Tip for Clover in April:  Having identified paddocks to oversow with clover, the plan is to graze them twice before oversowing. I do this because now I have two chances to get the cows to clean them out really well. This is essential to open the sward for soil-seed contact for the clover seed to establish and give it space and light to get going.

Jim is hosting a Clover Farm Walk on his farm this Thursday 7th April. For more info go to www.teagasc.ie/cloverwalks


Name:  Kevin Moran
Location:  CAHERLISTRANE, GALWAY
Enterprise:  DAIRY
Soil Type:  MIX OF FREE DARINING AND CLAYEY TYPE SOIL
% Farm In Clover:  30% (28ha)
% From Reseeding:  0%
% From Oversowing: 100% 28(ha)
Clover content 2021: 25-30% on 25ha
Clover Management for new swards: These paddocks that I am going oversowing clover into were limed last Septmeber and will be oversown after their 2nd grazing & given 2000 gallons/ac of lagoon slurry and some more P & K in subsequent grazings. I graze the area that was oversown at 1000 - 1100 Kg DM/Ha for 4-5 grazings after and avoid poaching at all costs.
What % Grazing Block: 15% (14Ha)
Why These Paddocks: These paddocks have good soil fertility, close to the parlour and very rarely have silage cut off them.
Soil Fertility Status: pH -  7, P – Index 4, K- Index 4
When: Mid-April
Clover varieties: Buddy (medium leaf), Crusader (medium leaf), Coolfin (small leaf)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2kg/ac - oversown, 1kg/ac - reseed
Top Tip for Clover in April: 
For established swards, I begin to go with half rate Nitrogen applications from the end of April. For freshly oversown swards, the key is to graze the sward at 1000 - 1100 kg DM/Ha and feed the plant with P & K to develop clover

Name: William Dennehy
Location: Currow, Castleisland, Co. Kerry
Soil Type: Medium Soils in a High rainfall area
% Farm in Clover: 36% (11.89 Ha)
% from Reseeding: 33% (3.9Ha)
% from Oversowing: 67% (7.99Ha)
Clover content 2021: 17%
Clover Varieties:  Buddy (medium Leaf Size), Chieftain (medium Leaf Size) and Coolfin (Small Leaf size)
Seeding Rate/ac: 5 Kg/ac on oversown swards, and 2 Kg/Ac on full reseed
Methods used: Oversown - Einbock air-seeder, and Full Reseed - one pass
Why Clover? I’m trying to reduce the chemical N use on farm, we started from an environmental point of view buts it’s now on a price issue as well.
1St rotation Management: I’m just on 50% of the farm grazed and all the clover ground has been grazed, I had very strong overwinter growth and the opening cover here was over 1100Kg’s of DM/Ha, the Clover covers were a little higher than I would have liked but I’ll try to graze these at 1200 covers in the next rotation to keep light down to the base. The first two weeks of March were difficult grazing conditions here, but I got through this with on/off grazing and good infrastructure.
William’s Top Tip for Clover: In a high rainfall area multiple access points to paddocks have helped to prevent damage to these clover paddocks in a difficult early March. Also the PH and P and K indexes must be right to help the clover to establish. Topping up the K before the end of the grazing season has really helped the clover here. The farm is walked here every 5 days in main season and decisions made using Pasturebase.

William is hosting a clover walk on his farm on April 5th for more info go to www.teagasc.ie/cloverwalks 


Name:  Ger Pardy

Location:  Birr, Co. Offaly
Enterprise:  Dairy
Soil Type:  Dry & Clay soils
% Farm In Clover:  100% (78ha) – (35% have enough to reduce N)
% From Reseeding:  10% (8ha)
% From Oversowing: 90% (70ha)
Clover content 2021: 23% on best. 12% on remainder
Clover varieties:  Nearly all Buddy (medium leaf size)
Seeding Rate/Ac: 2 kg/ac – oversown in April, 2 kg/ac - reseed
Methods Used:  Oversow – Einboch, Reseed – plough and till
Why Clover?:  “I visited Clonakilty at the beginning of their clover trials about 10 years ago with my discussion group. They were talking about gaining an extra 30 kgMS per cow from clover swards. I thought if I could get half that benefit it would be a good boost. The fertiliser saving now is an added bonus!”
1st Rotation Management:  High clover swards grazed late to have light covers over winter, these are grazed earlier in the spring. They’ve got 2000 gal/ac LESS slurry at the end of January. And are getting 10u/ac this week. They will get a further 2000 gal slurry/ac in next 2-3weeks. And that’s it for chemical N for these high clover paddocks for the year.
Ger's Top Tip For Clover: 
1. Don’t do too big an area, 10-15% would be loads, to graze covers at 1100 KgDM/ha on a large area is near impossible
2. April is best month for oversowing – sward is open, moisture in the ground, soil –seed contact crucial.


Trevor Boland 

Name: Trevor Boland
Location: Sligo
Enterprise: Suckler/Beef
Soil Type:  Clay
% Farm In Clover:  25%  (ha)
% From Reseeding:  0% (ha)
% From Oversowing: 100% (ha)
Clover content 2021: 0% on ha
Clover varieties:  (leaf size) Buddy & Chieftian
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2kg/ac - oversown, kg/ac - reseed
Methods Used: Reseed - , Oversow – Oversown on grazing ground after cattle grazed paddock.
Why Clover?:  Interested in seeing the results and potential cost savings from reduced nitrogen use.
1st Rotation Management:  Try to not let grass get too heavy and give the clover a chance to establish.
Trevor Top Tip For Clover: Clover needs to be sown early in the summer, late April or early May.


Find out what our previously profiled farmers had to say about clover

Laurence Sexton Peter Doyle | Kevin Moran | Brian McCarthy | Jim White


Laurence Sexton

 

Name:  Laurence Sexton              
Location:  Kilbrittain, West Cork
Enterprise:  Dairy
Soil Type:  Dry – Free Draining
% Farm In Clover:  70% (90ha)
% From Reseeding:  45% (40ha)
% From Oversowing: 55% (50ha)
Clover content 2021: 15.5% on 90ha
Clover varieties: Cheiftain, Buddy, Aberhearld (medium leaf) and Coolfin (small leaf)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2.5kg/ac - oversown, 1.5 kg/ac - reseed
Methods Used: Oversow – Einbock and Broadcast,  Reseed - One-pass
Why Clover?:  White clover is a way to reduce artificial nitrogen thus reducing costs. During the summer of 2021 a saving of 50 units of N/acre was achieved and hopes to save more in 2022  
1st Rotation Management: Grazed high clover paddocks first to leave light down to the base to give the clover plant the best possible chance to start growing.
Laurence's Top Tip For Clover: Lime, Lime and more Lime followed closely by phosphorus and potassium. Having the right soil fertility is key to getting clover on any farm. Poor soil fertility is a recipe for disaster.


Peter Doyle

Newsletter 22-02-22Name: Peter Doyle
Location: Derrypatrick Herd, Teagasc Grange, Co. Meath
Enterprise: Suckler calf-to-beef
Soil Type: Brown earth
% Farm In Clover: 50% grass-clover (32 ha) (other 50 % is grass only for trial purposes)
% From Reseeding: 53% (17 ha)
% From Oversowing: 47% (15 ha)
Clover content 2021: 10%

Clover varieties: Crusader and Chieftain (medium leaf size)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2.5 kg/ac - oversown, 1.5 kg/ac - reseed
Methods Used: Reseed - Onepass, Oversow - Einbock
Why Clover?: This year a grass-only vs. grass-clover system experiment is being set up to quantify the benefits of red and white clover in suckler-to-beef systems.
1st Rotation Management: Identifying suitable paddocks, seed mixtures and soil nutrient requirements to reseed and oversow with clover this April.
Peter's Top Tip For Clover: The farm’s aim this year is to build-up clover content on the farm. Huge emphasis will be placed on optimising soil fertility and grazing out tightly to ensure optimal establishment of the stitched in clover.


Kevin Moran

Name:  Kevin Moran
Location:  Caherlistrane, Co. Galway
Enterprise:  Dairy Farming
Soil Type:  mix of free draining and clayey type soils
% Farm In Clover: 30 %  28 (ha)
% From Reseeding:  0 % (ha)
% From Oversowing: 100% 30(ha)
Clover content 2021: 25-30% on 25 ha
Clover varieties:  Buddy (medium leaf size), Chieftain (medium leaf size), & Coolfin (small leaf size) 
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2kg/ac - oversown,
Methods Used: Oversow – Eindbock and fertiliser spreader for quad
Why Clover?:  It reduces the farms fertiliser bills, reduces the farms carbon footprint and increases output from higher milk sales
1st Rotation Management:  Aim not to carry over high covers on high clover paddocks over winter. Clover paddocks are being grazed with freshly calved cows now and throughout March. We have installed good access infrastructure in all clover paddocks to minimise poaching.
Kevin’s Top Tip For Clover: Oversowing can be very unforgiving with little space for error. Do not try to do too much area at once, do a small amount and get it right in terms of soil fertility, early over sowing, no poaching, graze at 1000-1100 Kg DM/Ha Pre Grazing Yield for 4 to 5 rotations after sowing.


Brian McCarthy

Name: Brian McCarthy
Location: Clonakilty Agricultural College, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Enterprise: Dairy
Soil Type: Predominantly light loam soils
% Farm In Clover:  37%  (31 ha; half of the research area is grass-only for experimental purposes)
% From Reseeding:  90% (28 ha)
% From Oversowing: 10% (3 ha)
Clover content 2021: 20% on 31 ha
Clover varieties:  Chieftain (medium leaf size), Crusader (medium leaf size), Buddy (medium leaf size), Coolfin (small leaf size)
Seeding Rate/Ac:  2 kg/ac - oversown, 2 kg/ac - reseed
Methods Used: Reseed – discing and onepass, Oversow – broadcast with fertiliser spreader and mix clover seed with 0-10-20.
Why Clover?: We have been undertaking research into white clover since 2012 and have seen the positive effect of clover on grass production and animal performance along with the potential to reduce nitrogen fertiliser use. We see it as one of the main components to improving the sustainability of dairy farming.
1st Rotation Management: Follow the spring rotation planner and graze down tight to 3.5 – 4.0 cm to allow light to the base of the sward.  
Brian's Top Tip For Clover: Good grazing management is essential to help maintain clover in the sward but being proactive and oversowing paddocks with clover in April every year will also be important to maintain good clover in the sward.


Jim White

1st Feb NewsletterName: Jim White
Location: Clonmel, Co.Tipperary
Enterprise: Dairy
Soil Type: Dry Soils
% Farm In Clover: 32%  (21.4ha)
% From Reseeding: 49% (10.4ha)
% From Oversowing: 51% (11ha)
Clover content 2021: 18% on 21.4ha
Clover varieties: Buddy (medium leaf size), Chieftain (medium leaf size), & Coolfin (small leaf size)
Seeding Rate/Ac: 2.5 kg/ac - oversown, 2 kg/ac - reseed
Methods Used: Reseed - One pass, Oversow - Mooredrill
Why Clover?: Sees clover as a sustainable option for the future and it needs to be exploited to its full potential.
1st Rotation Management: Currently grazing high clover content paddocks now with freshly calved cows. Cover of 1,000kg DM/ha.
Jim's Top Tip For Clover: Need to be a top class grass farmer before you can be a good grass/clover farmer. Need to be on PastureBase and measuring weekly for a few years to be able to manage clover.