The correct management of subterranean clover in autumn will pay dividends in spring when the seedlings that have emerged after autumn rain grow into a bulk of high-quality feed.
Subterranean (sub) clover is endemic in many hill-country pastures, but there is a growing appreciation of the value of this early-season clover, particularly for growing high quality feed in late winter and early spring.
Sub clover sets seed in late spring and after sufficient rain in autumn (over 20mm), these seeds germinate and seedlings emerge.
It is at this stage that the pastures should be spelled to allow the seedlings to reach the three or four-leaf stage and pass the “pull” test.
Ideally the paddocks or blocks would be grazed by cattle to remove any tag to open up the pasture and allow the sub clover to become well established.
The area can be grazed over winter, but covers should not be grazed below 1200kgDM/ha and ideally, lambing blocks or paddocks should be shut up early to allow the sub to grow a bulk of feed to help drive lactation and pre-weaning lamb growth rates.
For more information about managing to maximise subterranean clover go to B+LNZ’s Knowledge Hub: