A CEREDIGION farm is leading the way in sustainable agriculture thanks to white clover.

Deryl and Frances Jones of Rhyd Y Gofaint are taking part in a research project exploring the potential of white clover to improve nitrogen use efficiency and boost milk and meat production.

As Rhyd Y Gofaint relies entirely on grass and silage to feed their herd of 120 Holstein Friesian dairy cows, Texel cross Charollais sheep flock, and beef cattle, nitrogen fertilizer is a major input cost for their grass-based production.

Building on a previous Farming Connect trial that focused on soil fertility indicators, and with the support of independent grassland specialist Chris Duller, the Jones family is now exploring the potential of white clover to further improve their dairy farm's efficiency.

Chris Duller said: "White clover has potential to reduce fertilizer use and boost animal performance," he says. "The Jones family experiment with different varieties and monitoring is a great way to find the best approach for their farm."

The project investigates white clover, a legume that offers a natural solution to this challenge. With nitrogen-fixing bacteria in its roots, white clover captures atmospheric nitrogen and converts it into a plant-usable form through a natural process..

The benefits of white clover extend beyond cost reduction. It boasts the highest digestibility of common grassland plants and a high crude protein content, resulting in increased quality pastures for grazing animals.

The project will carefully monitor clover establishment, dry matter production, sward quality, and botanical composition throughout the growing season. Additionally, milk yields and quality will be tracked to assess the impact on overall production.

Deryl Jones said: “We are interested as to whether including more legumes in our sward can work in Rhyd y Gofaint. If the white clover experiment is successful, we would hope to see a reduction in fertiliser costs coupled with improved constituents in our milk."

The Rhyd Y Gofaint Farm experiment represents a significant step towards a more sustainable and cost-effective approach to dairy and livestock production, harnessing the power of white clover for a greener future.