An alternative planting strategy for establishing clover in pastures

2007 Annual Report for OS06-028

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2006: $14,992.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
John Jennings
University of Arkansas

An alternative planting strategy for establishing clover in pastures


A comparison of strip- and solid seeding of white clover initially indicates that better stands of clover can be obtained by strip-seeding clover at a higher than recommended seeding rate (4x on 25% of the field vs. 1x on 100% of the field). The stand percentage also remained higher throughout the growing season than clover planted at the recommended rate over the entire field. Strip-planting requires less time and fuel than conventional solid-seeding. Second-year data will determine if differences persist and if clover can spread from the planted strips into non-planted areas.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The objective of this study is: 1) to compare two strategies for establishing clover into dormant grass sod (1x seeding rate over the entire pasture vs. 4x seeding rate on 25% of the pasture).


White clover was planted in February 2007 and successfully established on a 40 acre tall fescue pasture on the Larry Wells farm in Cleburne County, Arkansas. Treatments were: 1) white clover planted at 2 lbs/acre over the entire pasture and 2) white clover planted at 8 lbs/acre in strips to equal 25 % of the pasture. Each treatment was rotationally grazed with separate groups of cattle during 2007 and data were collected for clover stand at approximately monthly intervals from May through November. The treatments will be monitored through 2008 for clover stand retention and spread of clover throughout each treatment.

A second field was planted on the Bill Kelly farm but due to unforeseen changes in management of the farm, that project had to be abandoned. A replacement cooperator, Steve Swenson, was located in Van Buren County. Clover was planted on a 40 field of tall fescue in February, 2008.

Field days are being planned for each project for 2008.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

First year results from the Cleburne County site showed a significant difference in clover stand percentage between strip-seeded and solid-seeded treatments. Mean clover occupancy rate was 65% for strip-seeded compared to 42% for the solid-seeded treatment. Percent occupancy of white clover for the last stand count in November was 2.4 times greater for the strip-seeded treatment than for the solid-seeded treatment.
Because of the difficulty of calibrating either broadcast or drill planting equipment for low seeding rates required for white clover, many producers do not attempt to plant clover. If clover can be planted at the recommended rate per field in strips, instead of per acre as a solid seeding, and if producers can expect the same or better clover stands, it will be easier and faster to strip-plant clover at a higher rate. Increasing use of legumes in pastures will reduce N fertilizer need and will help maintain viability of livestock operations under pressure from increasing cost on fertilizer inputs.


John Boyd
Extension Weed Scientist
University of Arkansas
P.O. Box 391
Littel Rock, AR 72203
Office Phone: 5016712000
Kenny Simon
Program Associate
University of Arkansas
P.O. Box 391
Little Rock, AR 72203
Office Phone: 5016712171
Shane Gadberry
Extension Beef Specialist
University of Arkansas
P.O. Box 391
Little Rock, AR 72203
Office Phone: 5016712177
Steve Swenson

14085 HWY 16 east
Fairfield Bay, AR 72088
Danny Griffin
County Agent
University of Arkansas
P.O. Box 157, 1414 HWY 65 South, Suite 137
Clinton, AR 72031
Office Phone: 5017457117
Larry Wells

2069 Mtn View Rd
Drasco, AR 72530
Michelle Mobley
County Agent
University of Arkansas
320 West Main
Heber Springs , AR 72543
Office Phone: 5013622524