Large leaved W clover

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
red, grown pure, cut x3, fine, several years ago now.
today, we grow red clover dominant grass leys, and cut 5 times this year, hit the clover, so over seeded with 2.5kg/acre, but, plenty of white increasing, bales av 19% P.
But red has a problem, v/wilt, so we are trying different clovers, l wouldn't like to grow a pure stand, think it would need something to keep it upright, but a dominant w clover ley works, also better to use a 'mix', even a small % of small leaf, to keep a tight sward, post cut, and no v/wilt.
Came across an article about r/clover, oestrogen, and tupping sheep, which is bad, so we have been told. That research, was conducted in the 50/60's, nothing since, till now, which is suggesting it isn't a problem, but wait for conformation !!!
 
Location
Ceredigion
You won't get 4 cuts first year as it's slower to establish than grass
I did my own mix here which was Red and White , I also included some annual clover that will help with bulk first year and some Hybrid Ryegrass so it conserves better
 
Takes a while to get going in the spring- once the soil warms up it gets the N it needs.

Used to establish pure stands of red clover using spring barley as a nurse crop. Put plenty of muck under it a and it grows like a plague. Clover often grew to above my waist in height before it was mown off.

Will see if I can find the pictures. Bit of volunteer ryegrass otherwise weed free.

20170801_102752.jpg
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
red clover is brilliant, but has faults, major one being v wilt, which means you cannot grow continually, in same field. The other fault, is it is rather open in the sward bottom, which is why we are trying the 'wild' small leaf clover, to thicken up the bottom.
As clovers are a bit slow to get going, in the spring, which restricts 1st cut, and as you cannot keep growing red, without a break, we are looking at other clovers, currently have balsana overseeded into older pasture, which we cannot plough, it's germinated, so, as it's meant to grow earlier than others, it will be interesting to see what happens, the aim, is to improve quality of 1st cut, and some free N.
N fert, is highly unlikely to go much under £400, again, ( my view) so anything to increase free N, protein for feeding, isn't going to be overly cheap, again, so high protein crops, are also very important, both can have a positive effect on the bottom line.

Last year, and this, we have 32 acres, of cutting only leys, some red, some white clovers, and cut x5, probably could/should, have taken a 6th, on them. The rest of the silage, dual purpose/herbs clover etc, only pitted, if right growth stage. All face samples of pit, are around 16%p.
just wonder, how far we can go, along these lines.
 
Grass silage can be high protein anyway so it is sort of academic having clover which shows a bit higher in CP in an analysis.

I would not grow continuous clover any more than I would continuous grass- after a number of years the weed grasses creep in and it becomes expensive to be throwing nitrogen at them when they don't grow half as much as actual sown species.

Rotation is important and everyone's grandad knew it. Roots, kale or a cereal crop between leys and legumes always pays.

I wonder if a low rate of very small leafed white clover might be ok with red clover above it. Establish in spring under a low rate spring barley or oat crop.
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
Grass silage can be high protein anyway so it is sort of academic having clover which shows a bit higher in CP in an analysis.

I would not grow continuous clover any more than I would continuous grass- after a number of years the weed grasses creep in and it becomes expensive to be throwing nitrogen at them when they don't grow half as much as actual sown species.

Rotation is important and everyone's grandad knew it. Roots, kale or a cereal crop between leys and legumes always pays.
rotation, and soil structure, are what has been forgotten, in the age of cheap fert, and sprays.
 
red clover is brilliant, but has faults, major one being v wilt, which means you cannot grow continually, in same field. The other fault, is it is rather open in the sward bottom, which is why we are trying the 'wild' small leaf clover, to thicken up the bottom.
As clovers are a bit slow to get going, in the spring, which restricts 1st cut, and as you cannot keep growing red, without a break, we are looking at other clovers, currently have balsana overseeded into older pasture, which we cannot plough, it's germinated, so, as it's meant to grow earlier than others, it will be interesting to see what happens, the aim, is to improve quality of 1st cut, and some free N.
N fert, is highly unlikely to go much under £400, again, ( my view) so anything to increase free N, protein for feeding, isn't going to be overly cheap, again, so high protein crops, are also very important, both can have a positive effect on the bottom line.

Last year, and this, we have 32 acres, of cutting only leys, some red, some white clovers, and cut x5, probably could/should, have taken a 6th, on them. The rest of the silage, dual purpose/herbs clover etc, only pitted, if right growth stage. All face samples of pit, are around 16%p.
just wonder, how far we can go, along these lines.
my 3 cuts this year are 14.5,15.5,15.5 for protein which is spot on for me finishing cattle
and i share your views on fert prices
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
my 3 cuts this year are 14.5,15.5,15.5 for protein which is spot on for me finishing cattle
and i share your views on fert prices
the problem is quite simple, we were encouraged to 'improve' yields etc, with cheap fert and sprays, and have become acclimatised to thinking they are THE way to do things.
Now, they are seen as 'bad', as is intensive farming, by a vocal proportion of the public. And to be fair, there is some truth in that, probably 'over use' is more to the point. And likewise we do not know the long term effects of them, plenty of history to show some every day items, were rather nasty, long term.
I have no real idea, how far we can go, using rotation, legumes, different grasses etc, to reduce the use of those chemical fixes, and still produce the yields we want, but l am prepared to find out. Not a believer in organic, diesel seems to replace sprays/fert, but there is plenty to learn from them.
Food inflation looks set to hit the public, and along with energy hikes, and extra taxes, to pay for covid, not sure l would want to be in the 'niche' market league, there will always be a mkt, but probably a shrinking one. Likewise, all the climatic/environmental rules, promises etc, now coming to the fore, are not conductive for producing cheap food, and l can see a serious clash of views, about to occur. It's quite simple, do you want affordable food, or not. Importing food stuffs, is neither climate friendly, or reliable, fert price will cause a reduction of global yield, so that route is somewhat uncertain.
But whatever happens, they all need feeding, and l am certain present politicians have absolutely no idea, of the effects food inflation will have, they all grew up, in the decades of cheap, and surplus food production.
My thoughts are simple, if we can produce acceptable yields, with limited use of chemicals, our profits should increase, and be more 'sustainable' or satisfying. If it comes to a choice, guvs will choose food production, over climate change, the first is now, the second is sometime, ahead.
 

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