Setting Seed

Subterranean Clover 7 March 2017

Timely rain combined with careful grazing management has allowed for good seed-set in both subterranean and white clovers on Hamish and Annabel Craw’s Banks Peninsula farm this summer.

The couple, who are Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Innovation Farmers, have been trialling the use of chemicals to allow clovers to flourish on uncultivable areas of their 422ha hill country farm.

Having successfully used Valiant (active ingredient haloxfop-p) to control grass and allow clovers to flourish on a paddock-scale trial area, the couple have been now managing the clovers to allow seed-set.

Later in autumn they will be over-sowing the trial area with new varieties of clover to augment the resident clover population.

Hamish says they have been pleased with the seed-set in both the white and subterranean clovers this summer, despite their different management requirements.
By only lightly grazing the block with lambs in January – grazing down to pasture covers of 1200kg DM/ha – they allowed white clover seed to set. But the grazing helped open the sward to allow sub clover seeds to strike and grow when moisture became available in February.

The lambs were removed from the block in late February and the area will be spelled for a month to allow the sub clover seedlings to become properly established.

“We have no issue with shading because the spray treatment has left the block pretty clean,” says Hamish.

Once the sub clover seedlings are established, the block will be grazed and the Craws will over-sow the area with clover seed to get that soil-to-seed contact.

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