Annual Clover Variety Trial

Project Site: Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview.

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2017 Annual Report


There is growing interest in using annual clover varieties for inclusion in cocktail mixtures and cereal intercropping systems in the Peace. The performance of some annual clovers in the area is well known, but it is important to test new clover varieties as they are introduced to the Peace. In the last 2-3 years, questions have been asked about the right type of clover with a good number of nodules, N fixing ability, good soil cover to control weeds in intercrops, and low growing/dwarf type for grain intercrops. Crimson clover is new to us in the Peace. PCBFA’s studies, and producers with experience growing crimson clover, have shown that it does well here.


Objective

To test the suitability of annual clover varieties for forage and crop production systems


Methods

  • Project Site: Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview.

  • Previous Crop: Oats for greenfeed in 2016 and 2015

  • Site soil information (0-6” depth): Soil tests done at Exova laboratory (Edmonton) prior to seeding showed pH = 5.8 and soil organic matter = 8.0%. The field was cultivated (disked and harrowed) before seeding.

  • Experimental Design: Randomized complete block design in 3 replications.

  • Treatments: The following 10 annual clover varieties were tested:

  1. Crimson clover (no variety name available)

  2. Subterranean clover (no variety name available)

  3. Balansa clover (Frontier)

  4. Persian clover (Laser)

  5. Sweet clover (Yellow blossom)

  6. Balansa clover (Fixation)

  7. White clover (CW 204)

  8. White clover (CW 190)

  9. Berseem clover (Frosty)

  10. Berseem clover (no variety name available)

  • Seeding Date: June 1

  • Recommended seeding rates for each clover type were used. Pre-inoculated seed was used.

  • Fertility (actual lbs/acre): 50 lbs/acre of 11-52-0

  • Spraying: In-crop spraying was done with Basagran Forte

Forage Dry Matter Yield and Field Notes on Varieties Tested

Most of the varieties tested did not do well, so forage dry matter yield was far less than 1000 lbs DM/acre for some clover varieties.


Forage DM yield was highest for crimson clover, followed by yellow blossom sweet clover and then Frosty berseem clover (Table 1).


Table 1 below also shows annual clover varieties which may have potential for inclusion in the cropping systems or forage-based production systems in the area.


Crimson clover, Frosty berseem clover and yellow blossom sweet clover did far better than other clover varieties in terms of seed emergence, early spring growth and nodulation.


Frosty berseem clover’s maturity is late when compared to other annual clovers and bloom period is similar to that of red clover. As an annual clover, Frosty produces an abundance of flowers and is favored by pollinators over red clover.


Crimson clover, like most other clovers that are new to us, needs to be inoculated at seeding with appropriate inoculants.

Poor Performers

The following clovers did not do well in our tests : White clover(CW 204), Fixation Balansa clover, White clover (CW 190), Subterranean clover, Persian clover (Laser), Balansa clover (Frontier) and Berseem clover. Emergence was poor, and for those that emerged, the seedling counts were very low relative to the seeding rates. These clovers wouldn’t be recommended for inclusion in cocktails for now. Persian clover may however have some potential, further tests on clovers at Fairview Research Farm would include Persian clover.

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