Caucasian clover was more productive than white clover in grass mixtures under drought conditions


  • A.D. Black
  • R.J. Lucas



This experiment compared the productivity of caucasian or white clover when established with five perennial grass species over 6 years in a dry lowland environment. Hexaploid 'Endura' caucasian clover or 'Grasslands Demand' white clover were sown in December 1994 with high endophyte 'Yatsyn' perennial ryegrass, 'Grasslands Wana' cocksfoot, 'Grasslands Advance' tall fescue, 'Grasslands Gala' grazing brome, or 'Grasslands Maru' phalaris into a deep, fertile silt loam. Initial establishment of clovers was poor with ryegrass and grazing brome. Some volunteer white clover established in all 10 treatments. After the first 14 months, no irrigation was applied over the following 4 years. Sheep grazed plots about six times each year. The legume cover in 15-month-old pastures was higher when sown with white clover (29%) than caucasian clover (21%) but dry conditions during 1997/1998 (60% of 680 mm mean annual rainfall) and 1998/1999 (66% of mean rainfall) decreased the percentage of legume in white clover pastures. In February 1998 and March 1999, legume contributed 37% and 21% of the dry matter (DM) in caucasian clover pastures, but only 4% and 1% in pastures sown with white clover. Rainfall during the sixth season (1999/2000) was more favourable (111% of mean rainfall). Total DM production from July 1999 to June 2000 was 10.0 t DM/ha from caucasian clover pastures and 8.7 t DM/ha from pastures sown with white clover. The mean proportion of legume in white clover pastures ranged from 9% when sown with ryegrass and phalaris to 1% with cocksfoot. In contrast, mean caucasian clover legume contents were similar across all grass treatments at 20%, but reached 46% with cocksfoot during summer. It was concluded that caucasian clover is more tolerant of summer moisture stress than white clover when in association with perennial grass species. Keywords: botanical composition, Bromus stamineus, Dactylis glomerata, legume content, Lolium perenne, moisture stress, pasture production, Phalaris aquatica, Schedonorus phoenix syn. Festuca arundinacea, Trifolium ambiguum, T. repens







Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 > >>