Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, CH-8046 Zurich

Pastor – a new red clover suitable for grazing

For the first time, a red clover variety bred and tested especially for its suitability for grazing is available to Swiss agriculture. Named Pastor, this variety traces back to crosses between an ecotype stemming from the canton of Jura, and Mattenklee breeding material. The new variety is characterised by a lower, flatter growth habit and smaller leaves than conventional Mattenklee. In two plot trials where beef cattle or suckler cows were grazed, it performed better than the recommended Mattenklee variety Milvus up to the end of the second year. Pastor achieved higher percentages of the total population and more plants survived than with Milvus, and it formed at least twice as many shoots per plant and per unit of area as the latter. Where Pastor was sown and grazed in the standard mixtures recommended for pasture (SM 440 or SM 462) instead of white clover, stands developed which, over time, had a better-balanced proportion of clover than was the case with white clover or with the Mattenklee variety Dafila. In suitable mixtures, the new red-clover variety Pastor has the potential to take on the role of white clover as a grazing legume for at least three years.

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