The influence of date of sowing and seed rate on the production of pure‐sown red clover


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Hungaropoly tetraploid broad red clover was sown at seed rates of 6, 12 or 18 kg ha‐1 on six dates from April to September 1971. Three crops were harvested in 1972 and one in June 1973. In 1972, total herbage dry matter yields ranged from 5.22 to 12.22 t ha‐1 and red clover dry matter yields from 3.61 to 11.92 t ha‐1 when meaned over all seed rates. April to July sowing dates gave significantly higher yields than later sowings. In general, August and September sowings gave the lowest red clover contents in a range from 63.2 to 96.5%, the highest digestibilities within a range 61.9 to 65.0% and the lowest crude protein contents in a range 15.5 to 17.3%. The influence of seed rate was less marked than sowing date. Mean annual yields of total herbage dry matter increased from 9.88 to 10.85 t ha−1 as seed rate was increased from 6 to 18 kg ha−1. Red clover dry matter yields and contents of red clover and crude protein in the total herbage also followed this trend. The sowing date effects on total herbage yield and content of red clover did not persist into the second harvest year but the seed rate effects were still noticeable. Plant numbers in spring the first harvest year and hence percentage survival from sowing were depressed by late sowing; plant numbers rose but percentage survival declined as seed rate was increased. The seed rate effects on plant population persisted until spring of the second harvest year but sowing date effects did not. Better stands of red clover were obtained from sowings made between April and June, when a seed rate of 12 kg ha−1 was adequate. The adverse effects of late sowing cannot be fully compensated by raising seed rates of clover. There was a significant interaction between seed rate and date of sowing. For April‐May sowings, seed rate was not critical. Thereafter, a linear effect of seed rate on yield was discernible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
JournalGrass and Forage Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPrint publication - Sept 1976


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