Why more UK farmers returning to RED CLOVER
There are a growing number of farmers now seeking to reduce the cost of production by using less fertiliser and by reducing the amount of purchased feed. It is predicted that many dairy, beef, and sheep farmers will choose to grow high clover leys and adopt a lower cost production system. High Red clover leys require little or no nitrogen fertiliser and provide an excellent source of protein.
Why Red clover?
Red clover grown in forage seed mixtures offer a low-cost alternative to nitrogen fertiliser and provides a homegrown source of protein. Clover plants can extract nitrogen from the air, which itself is three quarters nitrogen, indirectly into the soil via bacteria in nodules on plan roots.
There are also concerns about the effects of increasing diesel costs which affect the very application of fertiliser itself. Coupled with this is the burden of record keeping and even the disposal of polypropylene and plastic bags.
Digestibility and palatability:
Clovers are more digestible than grass and this is one reason why livestock perform well when fed clover. Clovers are extremely palatable to sheep and cattle. This is important as it enables productive animals to consume more forage. More forage intake with a high protein content leads to greater live weight gain and milk yields.
Red clover has a high yield of around 15t DM/ha and is mostly used for silage production. It is an upright plant which can yield up to 30% more than white clover. Red clover leys provide two or three cuts throughout the summer and autumn.
Red clover silage has a crude protein content of 16% to 20% and a ME content of 10 to 12MJ/kg DM Store/fat lambs can be fattened very effectively on red clover silage. To find out more: Ideal Nitromo
Note: High in Phyto-oestrogen, breeding sheep should be kept off for six weeks
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M.D – Idealseed