We got a good take of clover in the autumn reseed of a field that had been in tillage. The challenge now is to maintain this clover in the sward. How do we do this?
I started by going easy on the Spring nitrogen and applying a compound fertiliser instead. I spread one and a half bags of 18-6-12 per acre.
However, while clover content is good, the sward looks a bit undernourished. This is often the way with new grass after a number of years in tillage. The Greenfield Dairy Programme in Kilkenny reported the same phenomenon. I am going out with more compound fertiliser which I hope will boost production without curbing the clover. As P content in this field is index 4, I will probably use a compound based only on Nitrogen and Potash.
Luckily, the level of weeds in the reseed is low. Some farmers in this area, when reseeding, exclude clover altogether initially. This is because they plan to first kill docks, weeds, etc., in the reseed with something like Ally and then come in and oversow with clover.
Clover likes rotational grazing and especially likes a good rest from grazing in July during flowering.
In the clover trial at the Teagasc sheep unit at Knockbeg they found that taking out nitrogen in a cut of silage helped to boost the levels of clover later in the season.
I understand that the nitrogen fixed by new clover is not released till later in the season. Anyway the hope is that I will get plenty of grazing and lots lamb thrive from this field with minimal expenditure on bag nitrogen.