Growing profit from the ground up

White clover (Trifolium repens)

SONY DSC

White clover offers a productive source of high-quality year round in high-rainfall or irrigation areas.

A highly-productive perennial for high-rainfall areas or irrigated pastures, which grows vigorously during spring and and can facilitate considerable nitrogen fixation in dominant stands.

Key features

Common name: White clover

Scientific name: Trifolium repens 

Minimum average annual rainfall:

  • Greater than 700mm

Preferred soils: White clover is suited to a wide range of soils pH > 4.5; optimum 5.3. Tolerates low exchangeable aluminium and poorly-drained soils. Well suited to peaty soil.

Suitable companion species:

  • Grasses: White clover can be sown with most temperate and subtropical species including perennial ryegrass, phalaris, tall fescue, kikuyu, paspalum, Rhodes grass and Setaria
  • Legumes: White clover will coexist well with strawberry clover, red clover and sub-clovers
  • Herbs: White clover can be sown with plantain and chicory

Sowing rates:

  • Single species: 2–4 kg/ha; sow at 5–15mm into a clean, finely-worked seed bed and roll
  • Mixed species: 0.5–2 kg/ha

Sowing time: Autumn or spring. Inoculate seed with Group B rhizobia

Benefits

  • High nutritive value and year-round production
  • Well adapted to grazing
  • Some Australian cultivars relatively heat tolerant

Challenges

  • Vigour is limited by viral diseases
  • Poor tolerance of summer moisture stress

More information

Websites

Currently-available cultivars can be found on the Australian Seed Federation Pasture Seed Product database 

Factsheets and publications

White clover (NSW DPI)

Case studies and articles

Rob and Eliza Tole, Tasmania (mixed farming)