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Scientific name(s)
Strengths
Limitations
Plant description
Pasture type and use
Where it grows
Establishment
Management
Animal production
Cultivars
Further information
Acknowledgements
Author and date
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Berseem clover

Scientific name(s)

Trifolium alexandrinum

Strengths

Limitations

Plant description

Plant:  Erect, annual with short tap root; grows to 750 mm

Stems: Slender, hollow, branched. 

Leaves: plain, trifoliate, slightly hairy on both surfaces; oval  leaflets with, near the tip, serrated margins

Flowers: oval/cone shaped, ~2cm diameter, numerous, cream

Pods:  contain 1-2 seeds

Seeds:  oval, yellow/red-brown; ~350,000/kg

Pasture type and use

A winter-growing, annual capable of excellent early growth in autumn. Suited to seasonal irrigation. A valuable green manure crop.

Where it grows

Rainfall

> 600 mm in winter/spring rainfall zone for dryland use. Mainly used with irrigation. Tolerates water with up to 1000 ppm salt.

Soils

Best on neutral to alkaline soil, pH 6-8. Moderately tolerant of water-logging and saline soil. Well suited to deep alluvial soil.

Temperature

Good heat tolerance; low cold tolerance. The least winter hardy of the cultivated clovers. It should not be grown in areas where winter temperatures commonly go as low as 6C.

Establishment

Companion species

Grasses:  Italian ryegrass

Legumes: Persian, balansa, arrowleaf clovers

Sowing/planting rates as single species

8-10 kg/ha (10-15 kg/ha if irrigated); sow at 15-20 mm into a clean, finely worked seed bed and roll

Sowing/planting rates in mixtures

3-5 kg/ha

Sowing time

Early autumn

Inoculation

Group B

Fertiliser

Apply ~20kg P/ha annually and correct any nutrient deficiencies, especially K, Mo, Cu, S.

Management

Maintenance fertliser

For optimum growth Olsen soil P > 15

Grazing/cutting

More suited to cutting/fodder conservation; quick regrowth and good aftermath - on suitable soils.  Rotationally grazing in cool season when 15-20 cm tall; this stimulates tillering.  If sown with grass must graze late winter/early spring to allow clover to contribute later.  Set residues at 2-3 cm (winter) and 4-5 cm (spring) to avoid over grazing.

Seed production


 

Ability to spread

Poor recruitment; no hard seed

Weed potential

Low.  Seed very susceptible to false breaks.

Major pests

Red legged earthmite, blue-green aphid, spotted alfalfa aphid, heliothis, blue oat mite.

Major diseases

Some cultivars susceptible to leaf and stem blight and clover scorch - Pythium, Phytophthora and Kabatialla caulivora

Herbicide susceptibility

Glyphosate.  Damaged by most broad-leaf herbicides

Animal production

Feeding value

High; high protein content

Palatability

Palatable

Production potential

Good autumn, winter, spring

Livestock disorders/toxicity

Low isoflavone conetent - no risk to breeding livestock. Low risk of bloat.

Cultivars

Group Cultivar Seed source/Information
Early Bigbee AusWest Seeds
     
Late Elite II Seedmark/PlantTech
  Carmel  
  Multicut  
  Memphis AusWest Seeds
  Alexandria Seed Distributors

 Denotes that this variety is protected by Plant Breeder's Rights Australia

Further information

University of California - SAREP Online
Irrigated winter forages in Northern Victoria - Victoria DPI
Primefacts - NSW DPI

Acknowledgements

Departments of Agriculture, Seed companies

Author and date

KFM Reed, July 9th 2008