White clover

NOTE: The information in this Agnote must be read in conjunction with Introduction to selecting and using pastures in NSW, which covers information on areas of adaptation, sources of variability, species mixtures, and important issues related to animal health and the conservation of native vegetation.
Pasture type and use Perennial pasture legume with main growth in spring / summer / autumn. Irrigated or dryland. Grazing, pasture hay, ground cover for horticulture.
Area of adaptation Coast, tablelands and slopes. Irrigated areas central and south inland.
Min. average annual rainfall 750 mm with summer incidence.
  • Contribution to feed supply throughout the year, depending on district.
  • High nutritive value.
  • High animal production potential.
  • Combines well with many perennial grasses, both temperate and subtropical.
  • Some naturalised types regenerate from soil seed banks.
  • High potential nitrogen input to soil.
  • Widely naturalised in higher-rainfall districts.
  • Can be surface-sown or direct-drilled into existing pasture.
  • Grows on a wide range of soil types.
  • Medium to good tolerance of acidic soils..
  • Persistence — medium term.
  • Needs careful grazing management and good summer rainfall or irrigation for persistence and production.
  • Requires medium to high fertility soils (phosphorus and sulfur).
  • High bloat risk (especially in spring) when dominant in pasture.
  • Poor drought and heat tolerance.
  • Susceptible to nematode damage (North Coast).
Soil requirements Grows on a wide range of soil types provided fertility (phosphorus and sulfur) is medium to high, and soil has good water-holding capacity (drier areas). Medium to well drained. Tolerant of soil acidity where pH(Ca) > 4.5. Soil aluminium less than 20% of CEC. In marginal environments, prefers slopes with southerly aspect.
Varieties Select on the basis of plant habit and seasonal production.

* Denotes that this variety is protected by Plant Breeder’s Rights.

  • Large-leaved: Aran El Lucero Grasslands Kopu *
    Haifa Kopu II Osceola Quest Super Haifa *
    Super Ladino *
    Waverley *
    Will Ladino
  • Medium–large-leaved: Grasslands Challenge *
    Grasslands NuSiral *
    Grasslands Tribute *
  • Medium-leaved: Grasslands Demand * Grasslands Huia Grasslands Pitau Irrigation Mink *
    Sustain *
  • Small-leaved, medium stolon density: Grasslands Prestige *
    Grasslands Tahora *

* Denotes that this variety is protected by Plant Breeder’s Rights.

Sowing rates:
- as only species 4.0–5.0 kg high-density winter forage (coast).
- in mixtures 0.5–3.0 kg/ha
Sowing time Autumn, early winter: Dryland (all districts). Spring: Irrigation and higher-rainfall tableland districts.
Companion species Compatible with many temperate and subtropical grasses. In temperate and tableland areas: perennial ryegrass, phalaris, cocksfoot and tall fescue.

On the South Coast and western irrigated areas: perennial ryegrass and Italian ryegrass, paspalum and kikuyu.

Central and North Coast: kikuyu, paspalum, setaria, Rhodes grass, perennial ryegrass and Italian ryegrass.

Inoculation Group B
Major nutrient deficiencies Phosphorus, sulfur, molybdenum, potassium.
Main insect pests Redlegged earth mite, blue oat mite, bluegreen aphid, cutworms.
Main diseases Rugose leaf curl, mosaic, rust, root rot caused by several fungal pathogens.

Nematodes: Root knot nematode (North Coast).

Management Can tolerate close grazing. Management should aim to maintain a 70% grass 30% clover balance. Pasture should be kept less than 15 cm in height to allow light to penetrate for clover. Vigorous grass growth may outcompete clover.
Livestock disorders of particular note Bloat in cattle; urinary calculi (clover stones) incidence may increase in sheep; occasionally red gut in sheep.
Additional tips When topdressing fertiliser (phosphorus and sulfur), add low rates of seed. Avoid close grazing in dry summer conditions.
Further information
  • Grazing management of temperate pastures: Literature review and grazing guidelines for major species, Bulletin No. 47.
  • Weed control in lucerne and pastures.


Advice on livestock health disorders was provided by Dr Chris Bourke, Principal Research Scientist, NSW Agriculture, Orange. His contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

Photo: Mary-Anne Lattimore, NSW Agriculture, Yanco