Clover offers remarkable environmental and sustainability benefits as well as a highly productive, nutrient and protein rich forage for livestock.
In recent years, the price of farming inputs have fluctuated drastically. The inclusion of a high clover ley can provide a range of benefits enabling farmers to become more resilient; reducing the cost of production and replacing some purchased feed in favour of a home grown source of protein while maintaining a higher quality pasture under lower Nitrogen fertiliser usage.
Clovers can serve as feed for all livestock classes although care should be taken with red clover and breeding sheep. Generally, white clovers make for better grazing and thrive mid-season when companion grasses are not at their optimum, improving overall digestibility and protein levels of the sward. Red clovers are best suited to silage or growing youngstock. Clovers also offer huge environmental benefits. They fix nitrogen in the soil, help to maintain soil moisture, suppress certain weeds, create stable organic compounds that nourish surrounding plants and enhance the levels of minerals including calcium, magnesium, cobalt and selenium in the sward. Many clover species thrive in a variety of soils and climates and can withstand winter conditions. Some grow quickly, making them an ideal catch crop. When sown at an appropriate ratio with grass, dependant on the species, clovers can reduce or even eliminate the need for nitrogen fertiliser. Pollinators and other insects benefit from a clover ley, supplying food, water and shelter as well as nourishing earthworms, important stewards of soil health. View our multispecies grass & herbal leys, forage mixtures or wildflower mixutres.
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Soaring nitrogen prices are prompting increased interest from livestock producers in ‘alternative’ sources such as white clover, reports Barenbrug UK.
Buoyant soya prices, carbon reduction efforts and concerns about nitrogen management have caused interest in protein-rich forage, such as red clover, to surge, reports agricultural grass experts Barenbrug UK.