SEVERE POACHING set back white clover growth in swards for over five months, whereas recovery in ryegrass occurred within two months in trials at Ruakura research centre, in New Zealand.

Reporting in the British Grassland Society”s journal, Grass and Forage Science, scientist John Menneer says white clover is more vulnerable to hoof damage than ryegrass. It also suffered from fragmentation and stolon burial, which hit production.

“Stolon length, growing points and leaf numbers all decreased under poaching. However, the situation had reversed by late summer, with larger plants dominating poached plots,” he says.

He suggests restricting grazing and using stand-off pads when soils are overly wet to minimise treading damage and reducing the impact on white clover productivity.