Examinations of Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense L.) as a Cover Crop

Hilker, Brett
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University of Guelph

Frost seeding red clover into winter wheat is a common practice in Ontario prior to corn in the rotation. However, non-uniform stands of red clover as a cover crop restrict a grower’s ability to capture its full benefits. This thesis examines: (1) How did red clover end up as the clover of choice for frost seeding into winter wheat? (2) Can clover species diversity help alleviate clover stand non-uniformity of frost seeded clover? (3) Are there any immediate benefits to the subsequent corn crop of having clover in the rotation? Red clover has persisted into the present day due to the readily available source of seed and familiarity with the plant. In Ontario field trials, red clover is superior as a frost seeded cover crop compared to alsike, crimson, and clover species blends. Finally, while initial results from preceding clover show no immediate benefits to corn, the results are only preliminary.

Cover Crop, Clover, Red Clover, Alsike Clover, Crimson Clover, Winter Wheat, Corn, Rotation, Establishment, History, Non-uniform