BGS Lucerne & Red Clover Day

BGS Lucerne & Red Clover Day

Friday, June 18, 2010

BGS Forage Legume Meeting on Lucerne and Red Clover (held on the 16th June)

In one short sentence, Wil Armitage summed up what a fantastic crop lucerne is at the BGS Lucerne and Red Clover Farm Walk, attended by more than 40 people, at his Leicestershire dairy farm. "Lucerne gave me the confidence to go organic."

It might not be a crop suited to every situation, with a key requirement being for an alkali soil. But Wil's use of it shows how when you can meet its basic needs and establish it successfully, its ability to improve soil structure and fix nitrogen for itself and the following crop makes it a true asset. This is particularly so when using it in an organic situation as part of a rotation with Triticale and red clover.

 

The farm's gently sloping land is on a clay loam soil and white clover features heavily in grazing paddocks.

 

Red clover is the mainstay of silage with three or four cuts taken. It gives a 16-17% crude protein silage.

 

Triticale grows very well after lucerne and is combined for organic grain. 

 

Lucerne's deep tap roots find nutrients and improve soil structure.

 

Lucerne is cut at the same time as red clover silage and produces a silage of 17-21% crude protein

See the next issue of Grass and Forage Farmer - out August 31st - for more details. 

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