Earlier this year, a large number of dairy farmers incorporated clover into their swards, with many swards now having a large clover content.

Dairy farmers are now in the process of planning for the final rotation and closing paddocks on farms ahead of winter.

The drier weather experienced on many farms during recent months has resulted in reduced growth rates on many farms.

This means that many farms will not be able to reached the targets usually set out for the autumn period.


Clover offers a number of benefits to farmers including a reduced need for chemical nitrogen (N) during periods of the year.

The plant can fix N from the air and can then supply 50-200kg of N/ha.

This not only has an economic benefit, but also an environmental benefit, in that a farmer can reduced the amount of chemical fertiliser being used on farms.

White clover in grazing swards also has been shown to have a positive impact on cow production, with some farmers incorporating the plant a number of years ago for this reason.

Closing swards

But this now means that these swards cannot be closed in the same way that a grass-only sward could be closed.

Farmers will have worked hard to establish clover in swards, so it is important not to lose all this work over the winter period.

If too heavy of a cover is carried on these paddocks over the winter months it is possible that clover in the sward will die out.

This is because the plant needs light and if the grass grows too high, the clover can be shaded out and will likely die out.

So, it is important that the cover on these paddocks is low when they are closed and that they are grazed early next spring.

Recent winters have seen good grass growth rates so even if the paddock was closed with a low clover it is possible that come spring 2023 it may have a high cover.