Teixeira, C.1, Lucas, R.J. 2, Lewis, T 3., Moot, D.J.4
1 Lincoln University, Field Research Centre, Faculty of Agriculture & Life Sciences, PO Box 85084
Sowing an appropriate cultivar of subterranean (sub) clover is important for successful dryland farming systems. Sub clover is a winter legume with potential to produce high quality herbage early in spring, for lactating animals. To be economically viable, sub clover cultivars must be competitive at establishment, accumulate biomass early in spring and produce sufficient number of seeds for regeneration in the following year. A field experiment in Canterbury, New Zealand, compared 15 sub clover cultivars in relation to a white clover ‘Nomad’ treatment after mid-April establishment. Sub clovers produced twice the total dry matter (4200 kg DM/ha,) of ‘Nomad’ (1190 kg DM/ha) from sowing to November. The highest yielding cultivars were ‘Woogenellup’ and ‘Antas’, which produced a total of ~8000 kg DM/ha. The sub clovers were more efficient at competing with weeds compared to the white clover (e.g. 50% versus 6% clover ground cover). Seed production differed among subspecies with the yanninicums producing fewer seeds (~ 6000 seeds/ m2) than the subterraneum and the brachycalcycinum (~ 8630 seeds/ m2). Seed yield ranged from 330 kg/ha (Campeda) to 1050 kg/ha (Woogenellup) kg/ha. By March the following year, ‘Narrikup’, ‘Antas’, ‘Mount Barker’ and ‘Woogenellup’ had the highest seedling regeneration (1000 seedlings/m2) in contrast to only 182 seedlings/m2 for ‘Monti, ‘Leura’ and ‘Rosabrook’.