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Complementary effects of red clover inclusion in ryegrass–white clover swards for grazing and cutting

Eriksen, J.; Askegaard, M. and Søegaard, K. (2012) Complementary effects of red clover inclusion in ryegrass–white clover swards for grazing and cutting. Grass and Forage Science, 69, pp. 241-250.

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[thumbnail of Grass and Forage Science 2014.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English

Document available online at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gfs.12025


Increasing plant species diversity in grasslands may improve productivity and stability of yields. In a field experiment, we investigated the herbage dry-matter (DM) yield and crude protein content of two-species swards of perennial ryegrass–white clover (Lolium perenne L.–Trifolium repens L.) and three-species swards of ryegrass–white clover with red clover (Trifolium pratense L.). Five different managements represented cutting, grazing and combinations thereof, with different slurry fertilization treatments in 1- to 4-year-old swards. The three-species mixture out-yielded the two-species mixture in years 1 and 2. Across all 4 years, yields were 8–10% higher in cut swards. Inclusion of red clover increased the yields of clover across the 4 years by 51% without fertilizer and by 90% when fertilized. Responses to slurry fertilization were similar in both mixtures and were mainly independent of sward age. There was a complementary effect over the season and across managements. Red clover dominated in the first and third cuts; white clover dominated in the second and fourth cuts. Red clover dominated in cut swards and white clover in grazed swards. Future prospects of the inclusion of red clover in sown swards are discussed. These may include higher nitrogen-use efficiency in ruminants, increased soil fertility and improved sward flexibility to cope with changing managements. The findings also suggest positive yield effects of alternating between cutting and grazing within the season or between years.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Agrovoc keywords:
ryegrass (lolium) -> Lolium
White clover -> Trifolium repens
crude protein content
Red clover -> Trifolium pratense
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF III (2005-2010) > ORGGRASS - Grass-clover in organic dairy farming
Deposited By: Ursu, Ancuta
ID Code:43860
Deposited On:14 Mar 2022 11:54
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 11:56
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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