Watch: Selection, establishment and nutrient management of clover swards
To help promote and establish more clover on farms, the Teagasc Grass10 Campaign and Clover 150 Programme held a series of farm walks over the month of April.
At these events, advice on establishing and managing clover swards was provided. The below article includes videos from the main boards from the walk held at Teagasc Grange.
Selecting the right cultivar
Dr. Nicky Byrne, Livestock Systems Researcher at Teagasc Grange, discussed the factors that need consideration when selecting both perennial ryegrass and clover varieties.
“We have to be very diligent about the varieties that we do pick because we know that reseeding is a very costly process, costing in the region of €1,000/ha. And the varieties that we choose, the establishment methods and the management post establishment will determine how soon we can repay off this investment,” he said.
When selecting a perennial ryegrass variety, Dr. Byrne recommenced the used of the Pasture Profit Index, which assigns a star-rating to varieties on the basis of their ability to drive profit on farm.
Watch the video below to find out more on selecting the right cultivar:
Peter Doyle, Grassland Research Officer in Teagasc Grange, outlined how clover – both red and white – was established in silage and grazing swards at the research facility.
Outlining the post-sowing management, he explained that regular grazing at covers of ~1,100kg DM/ha were targeted to avoid shading of the white clover seeding. Tight grazing was also employed to ensure light was able to reach the base of the sward - a key factor in the successful establishment of white clover.
On the timing for the successful establishment of clover, he said: “Data from the Clover 150 Programme would suggest that reseeding and April oversowing provide a similar level of success for establishing white clover in the swards. In terms of the reseeding here, for white clover last year, the reseeding in April and May was a lot more successful than the reseeding in autumn.”
Watch the video below, where Peter offers advice on establishing grass clover swards
John Douglas of the Teagasc Grass 10 Campaign offered advice in terms of nutrient management for both white and red clover swards. The first step, he said, is to have you slurry tested to evaluate the quantity of nutrients already available on the farm.
“My advice is to get your slurry tested because that will give you an indication as to how much fertiliser you actually need to buy into the farm, because farmers could be bringing on more nutrients onto the farm than they actually need,” he explained.
John also offers advice on the nutrient management for red and white clover swards in the video below:
For more tips on establishing white clover, click here.
Also read: Increasing sward and animal performance with red clover
Watch: Reaping the benefits of red clover silage with Future Beef farmer Ken Gill