On Tuesday 5 April 2022, Germinal experts Ben Wixey, Adam Simper, Paul Morgan and William Fleming gathered for a special webinar on homegrown forage.
Armed with case studies and research data, the Germinal team demonstrate how different plants perform, helping farmers to make informed choices for their unique grassland farming systems. Among the forage crops featured are white clover, red clover and brassicas.
How to fill the forage gap Q&A
I was once told that through harrowing white clover in the spring, it can encourage the clover through stress to release nitrogen into the soil, is this correct?
Anecdotally, we have heard this but have no hard science to back it up. The suggestion is that the harrowing stresses the clover plant, inducing it to self-preserve and release any excess nitrogen that it doesn't require for its survival.
Have there been any trials using clover and no N applied?
For trials research, 150 kg N is used to simulate grazing returns. This, in effect, is a very low level of N or no N in a grazing situation.
Is there any benefit to leaving longer residual? Greater than 4 cm? Faster recovery/increased biomass over the same time?
The longer the residual on the grazing situation, the more damaged and decaying material will be left. This is unpalatable to stock and encourages them to leave or reject more. Grazing a grass-clover sward to 4 cm encourages fast regrowth as light and air are available to both the grass and clover plants.
We cut our grass fields at the highest setting of the machine from our contractors to prevent erosion and to get grass growing quicker after the cut. Is it absolutely necessary to cut white clover at 4 cm to do it right?
In fields that are too regularly mown, we would recommend medium to larger-leaved clover varieties. These put up longer petioles for the leaf to catch light and compete with the surrounding grass. Clover plants have a degree of plasticity in their growth as they can adapt to how they are being managed. So, if the varieties in your cutting fields are medium to larger-leaved, then cutting to 4 cm is not required.
Can Adam please go over the role of the harrow when reseeding red and white clover when oversowing?
The role of the harrow is to create a fine tilth on the surface for the white clover and red clover seed to be sown into. This aids in getting the essential seed-to-soil contact required for success. Sometimes, when oversowing with a drill, it can be drilled too deep, and this affects the establishment of the clover in an existing sward.
Should red clover receive potash each?
In silage situations, red clover requires 27 kg of potash for every tonne of DM removed.
If you summer graze a brassica, can you get a second feed off it later if you move quickly?
Summer-grazed brassicas can regrow, but it depends on what is sown. Appin, Swift and Redstart will regrow in the summer if enough leaf is left after the initial grazing.
For any questions regarding multi-species grass seed mixtures, sowing, establishment or grazing, please ask a Germinal expert.
Brassica seed: Growers' guide