Ballymena farmer Hugh is keen for other Northern Ireland farmers to look into the positive properties of clover.
“Ok I get that clover is something that most farmers want to kill – not roll in! The notion of having clover in your field is a big ‘no no’! But I’d like to propose that the benefits far outweigh the negatives. In New Zealand farmers have learned to manage clover because chemical fertilisers are so expensive and concentrates are too expensive to import. So why bother?
It has been proven that cows produce 2 to 3 litres of milk more by eating clover populated swards than grass alone. Beef and lamb have a better DLW (daily live weight gain) when eating clover based swards.
Clover is very easily established in an autumn reseed with traditional methods of ploughing, harrowing, seeding and rolling. The other added advantage of clover, especially red clover, is that it has a long tap root which goes deep into the soil bringing up extra minerals and vitamins, at the same time arrogating the soil making it more productive. This cuts out the need to arrogate the soil mechanically. Clover swards thrive best when they are fertilised with farmyard manure or slurry but can be killed off by chemical fertilisers.
So think about the advantages to cultivating clover on the farm, save on expensive chemical fertilisers and consider the extra income available from stock performance. It’s a win, win – you’re rolling in clover!”