Survey of interseeded red clover management and perceived challenges by Ontario wheat growers

Core Ideas:

Ontario farmers are always finding creative ways to grow more crops and protect the environment. One example is sowing red clover into wheat fields. This practice protects the soil from erosion, prevents weeds from growing, and fertilizes the soil. But after surveying 149 Ontario wheat growers who use this practice, 73% of them say patchy red clover fields are an issue. This often leads farmers to apply more pesticides to control weeds and more fertilizer for the next crop. This is discouraging many more Ontario wheat farmers from using this practice and reaping the benefits. To get to the bottom of this problem, we asked Ontario wheat farmers how they manage their wheat and their clover. Farmers who used more tillage, wider row spacing in the wheat crop, and higher clover seeding rates tended to have better red clover fields. Farmers’ explanations of what they thought made for good red clover stands supported these trends. We recommend that researchers study different amounts of tillage, winter wheat row spacing, and red clover seeding rates to help make this system more successful.

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