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Roll out the red carpet

Words supplied by Barenbrug Agriseeds.


High-energy red clover delivers a double gain for farmers looking to improve both animal performance and soil nutrient management this season.

That’s the advice from a Canterbury pasture systems specialist.

With the best nutritional value of any forage, plus the ability to naturally fix 200 kg/ha nitrogen (N) a year, red clover is indispensable for legume-rich, environmentally friendly pasture, Blair Cotching says.  

Now a new multi-stemmed red clover is available that combines high yield with improved grazing tolerance.

Morrow has been bred and tested in New Zealand by Barenbrug Agriseeds, where Blair heads the pasture systems team.

Trials show it has higher DM yield potential than other red clovers.

Entry Establishment Summer Autumn Winter Early Spring Late Spring Summer (2) Autumn (2) Total
Morrow 85 a 110 a 105 a 99 a 102 a 102 a 106 a 112 a 106 a
Rossi 117 a 100 a 108 a 104 a 97 a 106 a 91 a 90 b 102 ab
Relish 101 a 96 a 97 a 101 a 95 a 89 a 111 a 106 ab 97 b
Tuscan 97 a 94 a 90 a 95 a 106 a 102 a 92 a 91 b 95 b
Trial Mean 175   3931   2381   816   2390   2841   3649   1429   17610  
LSD (5%) 32   19   19   12   14   20   23   18   7  
%CV 14   9   10   6   7   10   12   9   3  
Significance NS   NS   NS   NS   NS   NS   NS   NS   *  


Morrow comes from a tough family. Most red clovers would not last long under intensive rotational grazing on light, summer dry North Island soils.

But Morrow’s parents did. Over time, they adapted, survived and stood out as good growers, even after drought. 

Plant breeders at Barenbrug Agriseeds selected the best of these genetics for improved yield, persistence and flowering to create a multi-stemmed red clover for good production and very good persistence under grazing.

“Like all red clovers Morrow will persist best on free-draining soils under a longer summer grazing round,” Blair says.

It has topped Barenbrug Agriseeds plant density trials, which measure how many red clover plants are left after two to three years in intensively grazed trials.

“In addition, Morrow fixes its own nitrogen, feeding it naturally into pasture systems in a slow and continual way. This will be ever more important to provide N on farm, as fertiliser comes under increasing environmental scrutiny.”

Morrow can fix over 200 kg N/ha per year, based on its yield (25-30 kg N/ha per tonne of DM grown).

Another important benefit of red clover is the increased clover root weevil tolerance over white clover, improving species diversity and legume content in farm pastures.

For best results, Blair recommends sowing 6 kg/ha coated Morrow seed. “Red clover doesn’t spread like white clover – the number of plants you establish at sowing determines your total red clover content, so it’s better to sow one paddock at 6 kg/ha than two paddocks at 3 kg/ha.”

It has an excellent fit with a wide range of other pasture cultivars, including Shogun hybrid ryegrass, Captain CSP plantain and perennial ryegrasses such as Trojan, Maxsyn, Governor and Viscount.

For more information about Morrow, contact your friendly Ruralco team today.

About the Author


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