As the pressure on farmers to do their bit for the environment grows, clover is becoming more of an attractive option in trying to reduce the amount of chemical fertiliser applied on farms.
Clover not only reduces the amount of chemical fertiliser needed, but a study in Clonakilty – over the course of four years – showed a grass-clover sward which delivered an additional 1.2t DM/ha, 597kg/cow and 48kg of MS/cow compared to a grass-only sward.
For this reason, clover should not be overlooked on farms, particularly when carrying out reseeding as this is the best time to introduce it to a paddock.
Another option to consider is over-sowing or broadcasting it onto an existing pasture.
This is a cheaper method which is not always successful, but the management post-sowing is the key to success.
This can be carried out on paddocks which do not contain any clover or where it has not persisted in the sward. For best results, the optimum level of clover in a sward is 20-25%.
If thinking of over-sowing, do so after cutting a paddock for silage; however, it must be cut very low to slow down regrowths.
When sowing, it is advised to sow at a rate of 2kg/ac mixed with 0-7-30, 0-10-20 or another suitable compound fertiliser.
After sowing, watery slurry should be applied. Finally, the paddock should be grazed frequently, at a cover of less than 1,000kg of DM/ha and grazed tightly thereafter to allow light to reach the plant.