Why good management decisions are key in grazing white clover
Managing and maintaining the optimum level of clover in the sward (22pc yearly average), can often be challenging.
If not managed correctly it can lead to a decline in clover content or clover dominance.
Poor grazing management, high pre-grazing covers (>1600kg DM/ha) and high residuals (> 4.5cm), can result in a decline in clover content, as a result of reduced light intensity hitting the base of the sward which is essential for clover growth.
An 18-21 day rotation in mid-season with a pre-grazing cover of 1300-1500kg DM/ha and grazing swards to 4cm can maintain clover in an intensive grazing system.
To prevent clover dominance in paddocks, heavy cuts of silage should be avoided. This can result in an increase in the level of white clover in the swards.
Clover dominance can often lead to reduced spring herbage availability, as a result of lower over winter growth.
This can be minimised by the application of early spring nitrogen fertiliser (70 units by April 1 - 2 splits; 23 units January/early February and 46 units March) and early grazing to encourage tillering of the perennial ryegrass plant.
Bloat is a concern expressed by some dairy farmers in relation to white clover in grazing swards.