Whole Farm Grass Clover Research from Ireland

The day before the Positive Farmers Conference in Ireland in January this year, there was an opportunity to have a farm tour of one of Teagasc’s Research Farms.  This year we headed to Clonakilty Agricultural College, in Co. Cork, to hear about the current research project.
“The Effect of tetraploid and diploid swards sown with and without clover on productivity of spring milk”

– 10 Holstein Friesian
– 10 Jersey Cross ( Jersey/Friesian)
– 10 3 way cross

-20 paddocks per treatment

-Stocked at 2.75 cows/ha

Every paddock received 250kgN/ha during the season

Every treatment received the same amount of supplementary in parlour feeding. Cows were grazed from February until November.

Clover treatments contained 25-30% clover within the sward.

Due to clover swards being slower to get going in the spring, extra silage needed to be fed to grass +clover treatments to bridge the gap but during the summer the clover treatments produced extra grass which could be taken off as bales and used the following spring.

Grass Effect

+58kg MS/cow (on average 2014-2016)

-Extra income of €262/cow

-262 x 2.75 (stocking rate) = €720/ha extra


Everyone should be managing and promoting clover within their farm to maximise digestibility, utilisation and grass production.

Breed Effect

When comparing figures between the 3 different breed types, the research found that Cross Breds were +13.6% more Feed Conversion Efficient than Holstein Friesian cows (on grass).

Cross breds were +12% more feed conversion efficient that HF cows (grass + clover).

A combined effect of using clover and cross breds =

from 0.81kgms/kg body weight to 1.03 KGMS/KGBW

+27% improvement

Not even allowing for increased replacement rate

– Cross bred average 5 lactations/cow
– HF average 3.2 lactations/cow

Posted in Arable & Crops, Carmarthen, Dairy & Forage.