Friday, August 19, 2011
Keen red clover growers, BGS past president John Downes and son Tim hosted a Profiting from Red Clover special interest day for the society, sponsored by SilAC.
The red clover day, which should appeal to those growing the crop now and those considering growing it for the first time, will be held on September 14th at the Longnor Village Hall and the Downes' farm in Shropshire.
They have been growing the crop for 12 years on the farm which is run organically. They are keen on the crops' nutritional benefits, as well as the effect on soil structure and ability to fix nitrogen.
"The plant itself has a deep tap root, which really benefits soil structure," says John. "It is also drawing nutrients from lower down in the soil than grass and white clover. This year it has shown its ability to yield well in dry conditions on our dry soils.
"Leys remain productive on the farm for three years, and may stay down for a further year when the red clover content remains strong.
"For the dairy herd, it's mixed with other silage in the clamp increasing the protein of the ration, saving on purchased concentrate costs. It's certainly increasing yield from forage in winter, compared with grass silage alone. And, our Aberdeen Angus beef cattle can be finished without concentrate on red clover silage."
Other speakers have been lined up for the morning session (see above), to provide valuable information on everything from how to grow a good crop to how to make the best possible silage from it.
10.00am Registration - at Longnor Village Hall
10.30am Why we grow red clover
John Downes, BGS past president and meeting host farmer
11.00am Understanding nutrient requirements and availability
George Fisher, BGS project manager
11.20am Establishing red clover - why it goes wrong and how to get it right
Helen Mathieu, BGS Trustee and British Seed Houses
11.40am Breeding red clovers for future demands
Athole Marshall, IBERS researcher
12.00 Why making high quality red clover silage needs special care
Dave Davies, Silage Solutions Ltd consultant to Silage Advisory Centre (SilAC)
1.30pm Field visit to discuss soil structure, red clover ley lifetime expectations and cropping rotations and to include Rhun Fychan from IBERS Aberystwyth talking about his research findings on silage quality, plus a silage wrapping demonstration.
3.00pm Optional afternoon tea.
Places cost £20 for BGS members and £30 for non-members click here to book now or download the application form. Places must be booked in advance.
BGS is a membership organisation which acts as a communication forum, through events and publications, for the profitable and sustainable use of grass and forage.