Are you considering adding clover?

The past two years have seen an increase in the inclusion of clover in grass leys. As a cost-effective source of palatable protein that also fixes nitrogen into the soil, the increasing popularity of clover is understandable when considering increasing purchased protein costs and artificial fertiliser prices

White clover

White clover is typically used in grazing swards and is more persistent than red clover. Red clover is better suited to short-term leys that are cut to produce high-protein silages.

It’s important to consider leaf size when growing white clover. Varieties with small leaves are better suited to grazing, whereas larger-leaf varieties are ideal for cutting.

Reseeding timings also differ between the two clover types. An autumn reseed with red clover is best carried out by the end of August or early September to ensure successful establishment before any early frosts. White clover can be sown slightly later, though frosts will inhibit growth.

All clovers require warmer soil temperatures to grow compared to grass, so clover can be swamped by grass in the sward if autumn reseeding is left too late.

Overseeding can be an effective way of incorporating clover into an existing grass ley. But this should only be done once a ley has been cut or grazed and the soil surface is sufficiently exposed to reduce competition.

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