Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

New Clover Offers Farmers An Alternative

A group of Canterbury farmers believes a tough clover they grow might be a viable alternative to the white and red clover that has been shown in a recent study to be in decline.

Clover is vital to stock farming, and a recent study in Northland has shown traditional clover growth has slumped by two-thirds in the past decade. In some areas, it has fallen by 35 percent in the past two years, prompting fears that New Zealand's historic farm advantage is at risk.

The Canterbury farmers grow the Caucasian clover that originated in the Caucasus, the harsh mountainous region between the Black and Caspian seas. The winters there are very cold; the summers are hot.

The 14 farmers - the Caucasian Clover Growers Group - and staff at Wrightson's Kimihia research centre, at Lincoln, have just finished a two-year research project that refined growing techniques and looked at how seed yield could be improved. The project received investment from Technology New Zealand, which helps businesses develop new products, processes or services.

Farmer Hugh Williams of Kirwee, west of Christchurch, says the new clover is hardier than the white and red clovers.

"It spreads underground, shooting up its flowers, and its roots go a lot deeper, too," he says. "Once established, it can withstand greater grazing pressure than other clovers. It withstands drought better. Up in the Bay of Plenty, for example, white clover practically disappeared in a drought, whereas the Caucasian kept an edible content of about 30 percent."

Mr Williams grows Caucasian clover for seed and believes there is potential for worldwide demand. "Pastoral farmers could sow it as a companion to grass. They could plant it for their stock," he says.

Clover is the factory for grass production and stock consumption, Agriculture NZ consultant Gavin Ussher says. It is rich in nitrogen, and this country's sheep and cattle depend on it for growth. He says it is important that New Zealand find new types of clover.

"They need to be more productive, more resistant and more persistent than the old clovers," he says.

Although Caucasian clover can take longer to achieve production than the other varieties, Mr Williams sees it as a viable alternative.

-ends-

Caption: Canterbury farmer Hugh Williams with the Caucasian clover he grows at Kirwee.

Contact:

* Hugh Williams, Caucasian Clover Growers Group, Tramway Rd, Kirwee. Ph: (03) 318-1780. Email: williams.h@xtra.co.nz

* Tony Hadfield, Technology New Zealand (Christchurch office) at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, (03) 377-9340 or 025 454 095. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525, ian@idcomm.co.nz


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>


Statistics: Butter At Record $5.67/Block; High Vegetable Prices

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017. More>>

ALSO:

Science: New Research Finds Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates. More>>

ALSO:

CO2 And Water: Fonterra's Environment Plans

Federated Farmers support Fonterra’s bold push to get to zero emissions of CO2 on the manufacturing side of the Co-operative, both in New Zealand and across its global network. More>>

ALSO:

Fisheries: Decision To Delay Monitoring ‘Fatally Flawed’

Conservation group representatives say a decision by the new Minister of Fisheries, Stuart Nash, to delay implementation of camera monitoring of fishing efforts in New Zealand is ‘fatally flawed’. More>>

ALSO:

Kaikōura Quakes: One Year On

State Highway One and the railway were blocked by damage and slips and the Inland Road suffered significant damage. Farms, homes and businesses suffered building and land damage. Power and internet went down, drinking water systems, sewage systems and local roads were all badly affected... More>>

ALSO: