Caucasian clover/ryegrass produced more legume than white clover/ryegrass pastures in a grazed comparison


  • A.D. Black
  • K.M. Pollock
  • R.J. Lucas
  • J.M. Amyes
  • D.B. Pownall
  • J.R. Sedcole



The potential of caucasian clover to improve the legume content of lowland New Zealand pastures should result in enhanced animal performance. Liveweight gains from eight flocks of ewe lambs rotationally grazing irrigated ryegrass pasture with caucasian or white clover at two levels of soil fertility (Olsen P values 10 or 22) were compared during years 2 (1998/1999) and 3 (1999/2000) of an ongoing grazing experiment in a lowland environment. Clovers were sown in December 1996 and ryegrass in March 1997 into the pure clover swards. Lamb liveweight gains were similar in year 2 (1130 kg/ha/yr), but in year 3, gains were greater on pastures sown with caucasian than on those sown with white clover (1290 vs. 1110 kg/ ha/yr). Spring liveweight gains per head per day averaged 170 g/hd/d in year 2, and in year 3 were greater from caucasian than white clover pasture (180 vs. 160 g/hd/d). Caucasian clover pastures had more legume on offer than pastures sown with white clover in year 2 (26% vs. 17%) and year 3 (19% vs. 12%). In year 3, 39% of the total legume on offer in caucasian clover pastures was volunteer white clover. Soil fertility had little influence on results. Early years of this grazing experiment showed that caucasian clover can establish as well as white clover if sown alone, and that sowing caucasian clover can result in lowland pastures with an increased total legume content which may improve liveweight gains. Keywords: legume content, Lolium perenne, pasture production, sheep liveweight gain, Trifolium ambiguum, T. repens







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