AgriSearch is hosting a farm walk on red clover establishment as part of the ZeroNsile project in partnership with Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

The farm walk is set to take place on Wednesday, June 5 on the farm of David Clarke.

In partnership with his father, Clarke farms 80 spring calving dairy cows alongside a broiler-breeder poultry unit near Augher, Co. Tyrone.

Grassland agronomist from AFBI, Dr. David Patterson and grassland technologist at CAFRE, Robert Patterson will highlight the key steps needed to successfully establish red clover swards.

They will discuss soil fertility, nutrient management, seed selection and reseeding methods, which are all “key steps” to establish red clover swards.

The Tyrone dairy farmer will also discuss his experiences of establishing and harvesting red clover silage swards on his farm as part of the ZeroNsile Project.

(L-r) Host farmer David Clarke and AFBI grassland scientist Dr. David Patterson examining a red clover sward Source: AgriSearch

A spokesperson for CAFRE, Conail Keown will discuss how to make the most of the crop within the diet of dairy cows, as well as the benefits that the crop can bring.

He will discuss how the use of the clover can lower fertiliser use, have a higher protein forage and it can reduce a farmer’s carbon footprint.

Project on red clover

The ZeroNsile project was established in 2023 to examine the “feasibility and practicalities” of producing silage without the use of manufactured N fertiliser, focusing primarily on red clover swards.

12 farmers from the Beacon Farm Network and GrassCheck programmes were selected across Northern Ireland to establish swards on their farms.

There is also a smaller Lucerne component in the study which will investigate the “feasibility” of growing and utilising Lucerne on three farms in Co. Down.

Registrations are now open for the farm walk and places can be booked via the AgriSearch website.