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Mt. Vernon, MO 65712
Phone: 417-466-2148
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Southwest Center RUMINATIONS
April-June, 2003
Vol. 9, No. 2

New Red Clover Varieties Look Promising
By Dr. Rob Kallenback and Matt Massie

More pounds of red clover seed are planted into pastures in Missouri than any other forage legume. Red clover is a high quality, short-lived, perennial legume that is usually grown in combination with perennial cool-season grasses. Red clover is popular with forage and livestock producers for four main reasons. First, livestock gains from red clover/grass pastures are higher and less expensive than N-fertilized grass. Second, it is easy to establish. Third, red clover is adapted to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions; and finally, it is a versatile crop that works well in both grazing and harvested forage systems alike.

Several improved varieties of red clover are marketed in Missouri. In 2001, we planted a red clover variety trial to see how some of the newer varieties perform in southern Missouri.

Six red clover varieties were planted on 20 March 2001 into an existing stand of endophyte-infected tall fescue using a Truax no-till drill. Locally grown, common red clover seed was included as a check variety. The seeding rate for the red clover was 5 lb per acre of pure live seed. The soil type at this location is a Creldon silt loam. Plots were fertilized with 0-120-100 on 14 March 2001, and 0-50-150 on 24 April 2002. Pulverized lime was added to provide 400 EMN on 14 March 2001. Individual plots are 5 ft. by 30 ft; plots are not irrigated. The experimental design is a randomized complete block with four replications.

Plots were harvested when the mixed red clover/tall fescue sward reached 8-10 inches and cut to a 3 inch residual to simulate rotational grazing. Sub-samples from each plot were analyzed for moisture content and yields are reported on a 100% dry matter basis. Stands were visually rated for persistence in spring 2002.

On average, grass/red clover yields were 2.2 tons per acre in 2001 and 3.7 tons per acre in 2002 (Table 1). In the establishment year (2001), all of the varieties produced similar yields. However, in the second year (2002), Solid, Redlangraze II, and Amos produced significantly more forage than common red clover. These yields are closely related to plant longevity, as the highest yielding varieties had significantly greater stand persistence than common red clover. We expect that difference between the improved varieties and common red clover will be larger as the stands become older. We intend to collect data from these plots for at least one more year; those data will be interesting to see which varieties will be the most economic choice.

  200220022002200220022002  
Brand/CompanyVariety Name23-Apr29-May26-Jun31-Jul6-SepTotal2001 TotalStand Persistence
  --------------- Tons per Acre ----------------%
ABIRedlangraze II1.130.990.900.790.204.012.3085.0
DLF JenksAmos1.011.001.020.720.213.972.0986.2
FCISolid1.180.870.810.790.263.902.4382.5
DLF JenksVesna0.900.990.980.560.193.631.9078.8
PublicCommon0.920.820.790.500.173.202.0372.5
Wrightson SeedAstred0.960.830.680.460.223.142.0375.0
 LSD (0.05)0.230.140.090.29NS0.62NS8.4


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