The Benefits of Quality Clover
The feed content of white clover is an additional source of protein and minerals. White clover has a protein content of 27.5% compared to grass at 17.5%. It is also a valuable source of magnesium and calcium to the grazing animal.
White clover protein is less rumen degradable than grass protein; consequently white clover in either silage or grazed grass will improve animal performance. Animals find white clover highly palatable, they will eat forage containing white clover more quickly with less expenditure of energy due to the structure of clover allowing speeding up of the digestive process.
Farmer’s perceptions for utilising white clover include, increasing sward density, soil surface protection and moisture retention, quality-grazing early/mid May, reducing forage costs and improving animal performance.
White clover will survive nitrogen rates in excess of 400 Kg. Per hectare, at rates of up to 200 Kg. Per hectare white clover will continue to “FIX” nitrogen. Whatever rate of nitrogen is being applied to a ley, whether it is grazed or conserved there is a positive benefit in animal performance from the inclusion of Quality clovers in the ley.
Why have clovers in a sward?
- Fix nitrogen + reduce input costs
- Increase the palatability of the sward and consequently animal performance
- Supply additional protein and minerals to the animal
- Provide a ‘mobile’ sown component to fill any gaps in the sward
Why use a blend of clover types?
By using a blend of different varieties there is always at least two that are best suited to whatever the management being applied to the sward. The use of a blend of different clovers broadens the genetic diversity, disease and pest resistance of the clover content of the sward.
What is the feeding quality of a clover/grass sward?
White clover has about half the structural fibre (cell wall) content and approx. 50% more crude protein than perennial ryegrass, it being 27% of the dry
matter. White clover can be an important source of minerals to the grazing animal, containing a significantly higher proportion of Calcium, Magnesium, Iron and Cobalt that the grass portion of the sward. Clover in a sward reduces the decline in the digestibility, typically 0.15 units per day, compared to 0.5 units per day for a ryegrass sward. This helps to maintain herbage quality if there are delays in harvesting or grazing.
How will animals perform on a clover/grass sward?
Animals prefer to graze a clover/grass sward, these results in higher voluntary intakes and better animal performance. In trials cattle grazed on a clover/grass sward had an intake of 9.2kg of dry matter per day and a live weight gain of 1.1 kg per day, compared with those grazed only on grass of 6.7 kg intake and 0.8kg/day live weight gain. Trials with dairy cows have shown that that for each 10% increase of the white clover content of the pasture, milk yield increases of between 0.3 and 0.45 kg per cow per day. Therefore a sward which has a 30% clover content, which is an average for mid-summer, can be producing up to 1.35 Kgs of milk per cow per day more from the clover.
Is clover important in silage?
Feeding silage with a significant proportion of white clover will improve intake. In trials, beef cattle fed clover/grass silage showed 16% higher live weight gain over those fed on grass silage. Grass/clover swards without fertiliser Nitrogen can produce yields similar to those of pure grass swards receiving around 200kg N per Hectare per year. White clover in the sward will release nitrogen to the grass, encouraging fresh vigorous growth throughout the sward.
E & O E – Standard Terms and Conditions of I-Dealseed Ltd. In the event of a shortfall in supply we reserve the right to offer varieties of equivalence or better.