Red clover grown in a mixture with grasses: yield, persistence and dynamics of quality characteristics
Agricultural and Food Science in Finland 12(3-4): 195-212
Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) was grown in mixtures with timothy and meadow fescue in field experiments at four sites in Finland to broaden knowledge on it's potential as a forage crop. The effects of cutting frequency, nitrogen fertilization in the spring and sward density were investigated. Forage yield quality was analyzed using standard methods. Red clover produced well in all swards during the two first seasons. In the third summer the proportion of red clover was greatly diminished except on sandy soil at the northernmost locality (64degrees40'N) where it remained productive. Linear regression adequately described the dependence of crude fibre content and crude protein content in dry matter of the primary growth and regrowth, both of red clover and grass, on accumulated temperature sum. The contents of P, K, Ca and Mg in clover and grass are given as a function of accumulated temperature to describe their changes during crop growth. The results give new knowledge about possibilities to grow red clover in the northern livestock region of Finland. They proved that soil type is more important for good persistence of red clover than latitude.