Bridging research and practice for clover establishment and management

Monday, 21 August 2023

Our latest podcast is dedicated to the establishment and management of clover. Join us as we delve into the science of clover cultivation, best practices for the establishment, and innovative management techniques that enhance soil health and biodiversity and contribute to a more resilient farming system.

Teagasc Research Officer Nicky Byrne and James Drummond on Lemmington Hill Head Farm in Northumberland share some of their expert tips and real-life stories on the establishment and management of white and red clover swards. 

Nicky is a livestock systems research officer at Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Grange. His work focuses on the use of the most efficient and appropriate animal genetics and the most appropriate way to feed those animals in terms of a forage-based diet to optimise production efficiencies and reduce the age of slaughter and the use of concentrates and nitrogen in farm systems.

Nicky looks at the use of forage legumes such as red and white clover to reduce nitrogen inputs into farm systems. As well as increasing animal performance and displacing the need for expensive concentrate, his work looks at using forage legumes to improve the system’s economic and environmental efficiency.

We were also joined by James Drummond, a beef and sheep forage-based livestock farmer up in Northumberland. James is heavily driven in using legumes with the improved grazing management that has led to improved utilisation of pasture.

He has managed to double the livestock his farm is carrying, and a lot of that has been based around legumes. His objective is to reduce nitrogen and feed in their system.

They hope to eliminate the volatile input costs and encourage the production of nitrogen coming naturally from the plants they grow.

James has also been part of the Super G project, which focuses on improving and managing sustainable permanent pastures. He also shares some of his findings from a project he is involved in, looking at integrating legumes and herbs into permanent grassland systems.

In sustainable agriculture and ecological landscaping, few elements hold as much promise as the clover plant. Understanding the science behind clover establishment and management has become paramount as we move towards more environmentally friendly and resilient practices.

Further information

Forage For Knowledge (interactive grass growth dashboard)

Establishing and growing clover

Recommended Grass and Clover Lists (RGCL)

Recommended Grass and Clover List online tool

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