Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork
Update on the Teagasc Moorepark Grass-Clover Research programme
Dr. Deirdre Hennessy and Hannah Irish
The grass-white clover research programme at Teagasc Moorepark is comparing herbage and milk production from three pasture-based systems, all stocked at a whole farm stocking rate of 2.6 cows/ha. The three experimental treatments are grass-only receiving 225 kg N/ha, grass-white clover receiving 150 kg N/ha and grass-white clover receiving 150 kg N/ha in an alternative N application strategy. Paddocks in the grass-white clover treatment receiving 150 kg N/ha in an alternative N application strategy will receive N fertiliser every second rotation from May to August, while in the other grass-clover treatment N is applied in every rotation.
Current pre-grazing herbage mass is approximately 2,250 kg DM/ha and post-grazing sward height is 3.8 cm. Current sward clover content is approximately 10% on both clover treatments. We have 83% of the area grazed and approximately 10 days grass left in the first rotation. The first grazed paddocks have a cover of 900 – 950 kg DM/ha. Average farm cover is 850 kg DM/ha. Current herbage allowance is 15 kg DM/cow plus 2 kg concentrate. To date, 45% of the farmlets have received slurry (2,500 gals/ac) and average fertiliser N application is 56 kg N/ha. Cows are on a 24 hour allocation since early last week. Milk production is similar across all treatments at 23.7 kg/cow and 1.92 kg MS/cow.
We plan to reseed 5-10% of the farmlets this year (April/May), with a small amount of over-sowing in early April in swards with low clover content.