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Grazing management for white clover swards

Best practice grazing management is similar for grass-white clover swards and grass-only swards. Flexibility and willingness to adapt to the conditions are important when managing grass- white clover swards. Good grazing management is also important for increased persistence and production of white clover in grazed swards.


  • Target early spring grazing – this benefits white clover growth
  • Avoid poaching/damaging swards – poaching reduces white clover content in the sward
  • Be flexible – use on/off grazing, graze wetter paddocks in drier weather
  • Target post-grazing sward height of 5 cm

Mid-season (April to July)

  • Maintain pre-grazing herbage mass between 1,300 and 1,600 kg DM/ha (8 to 10 cm)
  • Target post-grazing sward height of 4 cm
  • Chemical N fertiliser may be reduced on swards with good white clover content (≥ 25%)


  • Build grass on the farm from early to mid-August by extending rotation length
  • Close the farm in rotation from early October
  • Target post-grazing sward height of 3.5 to 4.0 cm on the final rotation
  • Avoid poaching/damaging swards
  • Be flexible – use on/off grazing, graze wetter paddocks in drier weather
  • Close paddocks with a high sward white clover content (i.e.> 30%) towards the end of the final rotation (end of October to start of November)

An average annual sward white clover content of approx. 20 – 25% is desirable for animal and sward production benefits. Sward white clover content increases through the spring, into summer and generally peaks in August/September. Good grazing management is key to maintaining sward white clover content.

Graze as soon as plants can withstand grazing, First grazing of a new reseed should be done at low covers (600-1,000kg DM/ha), Light grazing by animals such as calves, weanlings or sheep, Graze swards tight for at least the first three grazings post sowing (4cm or less), Don’t close for silage in year one, Close later in the autumn, if possible