12. Performance of White clover (Trifolium repens l ) in Nepal
Rameshwar Singh Pande
(Published in: Pande, RS, 1995. Performance of White clover (Trifolium repens l) in Nepal. Promotion of Animal Production through Research and Development. Proceedings of the IInd National Animal Science Convention August 7-10 1995, Nepal Animal Science Association (NASA), Nepal)
White clover is believed to be introduced in around 1940 in Nepal. Since then over 23 cultivars from 8 different countries were introduced and tested. Different INGOs/NGOs are involving in introduction and the promotion of white clover in Nepal. Between the FY 19080 to 1990, over 1600 kgs f white clover seeds were imported from overseas country under DOAD programme. White clover is widely used for over sowing into the native pasturelands to improve the productivity as well as to maintain the soil fertility status. White clover is growing between the altitude from 700 m o 4000 m altitude and are quite popular as a pasture as well as lawn grass. The DM production of white clover has been found up to 9.5 mt DM/ha under multicut regime in experimental conditions with fertilisation and irrigation. Similarly, the seed production has been recorded up to 375 kg/ha from cultivar Laden and Marpha. Out of the total varieties the local Khumal was found successful in humid areas where as Aberysmith cultivars like S-128 was found good in transhimalayan region such as Marpha. More emphasis should be given to study the overall aspects of its adaptability and DM and seed production aspects.
White clover is assumed to be one of the first introduced temperate pasture species in Nepal. White clover was introduced in around 1940 during the Rana period. The purpose of the introduction was mainly to beautify the lawn of the Rana’s palaces in Kathmandu valley. Since then white clover has been naturalized, well adapted, localized and growing naturally on lawn. Fallow croplands, roadsides, playing ground every where especially on moist places around Kathmandu valley as well as other parts of the country such as Rasuwa district.
Recently, white clover is widely used for over sowing into the native pasturelands to improve its productivity as well as to maintain the soil fertility status. As legume components in the natural grazinglands of Nepal is scarce. Incorporation of white clover in the grazing lands not only increase the productivity and the quality of the pastures by supplying more DM and improving the nutritional quality but also improves the soil fertility level through fixing atmospheric Nitrogen.
Introduced Cultivar and involved agencies
Since 1940, over 23 cultivars from different countries were introduced and tested at different sites of Nepal. The imported cultivars were mainly from New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, USA, United Kingdom etc. The major agency involved in the introduction and studies of white clover are:
1. UNDP/FAO/XR/FAO/26: Trishuli Watershed Management Project,
2. SATA/Nepal: Jiri Multipurpose Project, East Nr.1, Nepal,
3. FAO/RAS/79/121: Himalayan Pasture and Fodder Research Network, Nepal, India, Bhutan Pakistan
4. FAO/Nepal, 85/007: High Altitude Pasture Development Project, Nepal
5. ODA/UK: a) Pakhribas Agriculture Centre,
b) Lumle Agriculture Centre.
A total 1608 kgs of white clover seeds are imported by three agencies only, e.g. NEP/85/007, RAS/79/121 and ADB/DLS during the project period 1980 to 1990 (Table-1)
Table -1. The Cultivar and amount of seed imported by different agencies
SN Cultivars Origin NEP/85/007, Kg RAS/79/121, kg ADB/DLS, kgs Total, Kg
1 Alban Denmark 1.0 1.0
2 Arkadia Denmark 0.2 0.2
3 Efler* Germany
4 FLX PL Sweden
5 Haifa Australia 6.6 6.6
6 Huia New Zealand 691 9.7 500 1200.7
7 Kivi Denmark
8 Kopu New Zealand
9 Laden New Zealand 5.1 5.1
10 Lirepa Germany 1.0 1.0
11 Lousiana S-1 USA
12 Menna UK 25 0.08 25.08
13 Milknova Denmark
14 Missbrown USA 0.03 0.03
15 New Zealand Australia
16 Nora Denmark
17 Osceala Germany 1.0 1.0
18 Ramona Sweden
19 Regal USA
20 S-100 UK
21 S-184 UK 365 1 366.0
22 Sonja Sweden
23 Tillman Australia
24 Khumal local local
Total 1081 26.7 500 1607.7
* Introduced by SATA at Jiri during 1965-67 (Source: Degallior, 1967
Performance of Introduced Cultivar in Nepal
The white clover though introduced long ago, the record of its performance in terms of DM/ seed production is extremely lacking. Recently, after the involvement of the International Development Agencies some of the localized information especially about the germination, establishment and biomass production of white clover has been recorded and documented. The major research sites are Khumaltar, Pokhara, Jiri, Marpha, Pakhribas, Lumle, Dunche and Jumla.
On the basis of Published record , the highest fresh yield was recorded from cultivar Tillman (21.3 mt/ha) at Pokhara. Similarly, the second highest was recorded from Regal (20.7 Mt/ha) (Pradhan, 1988/89). On the DM basis the highest fodder yield (5.0 mt DM/ha) and the second highest yield was obtained from Huia 3.6 mt DM/ha at Marpha under 6 cut regime ( Grela et al 1991).
Table -2. Fodder Yield from different Cultivar of white clover
Cultivars Origin Green Fodder yield, mt/ha DM yield mt/ha Site
Alban Denmark Pakhribas
Arkadia Denmark 1.4 Marpha
FLX PL Sweden 14.5 Pokhara
Haifa Australia 1.2 Pokhara
Huia New Zealand 3.6 Marpha
Kopu New Zealand 125.0 Khimti
Laden New Zealand 5.0 Marpha
Lirepa Germany 16.0 Pakhribas
Lousiana S-1 USA 12.1 Pokhara
Menna UK Pokhara
Milknova Denmark Marpha
Missbrown USA 13.1 Pokhara
New Zealand Australia
Osceala Germany 11.5 Pokhara
Ramona Sweden Pakhribas
Regal USA Pokhara
S-184 UK Sindhupalchok
Sonja Sweden Pokhara
Tillman Australia 21.3 Pokhara
Khumal local local 17.1
Total 1081 26.7 500
Very little work has been done on white clover seed production performances. The estimated production of white clover seed per ha is reported up to 100 kg/ha/yr under three times picking of mature flowers. RAS/79/121 (1990) and Joshi (1991) reported the seed yield from different cultivars of white clover as follows:
SN Cultivars Seed yield (Kg/ha)
1 Hafia 155
2 Laden 375
3 Arkadia 27
However, it was observed that on an average seed yield at Rasuwa under natural conditions was not more than 25 kg/ha.
The major Government Farms/ NARC Centres involved in white clover seed production are:
1. DOAD, Dolpa Chauri Farm,
2. DODA, Jiri Livestock Farm,
3. NARC, Rasuwa Pasture Research Centre,
4. NARC, Jumla Sheep Research Centre.
The domestic production of white clover seeds is very negligible. During the FY 1993/94 a total of 41 kgs seeds of white clover collected from Dolpa, Rasuwa and Jumla.
Response to Fertilizers
Response to fertilizer and the FYM on three cultivars viz. Huia, Laden and Khumal(local) were tested at Jiri. The use of chemical fertilizer with inoculation was found similar to the treatment with chemical fertilizer and inoculation. The mean higher fodder yield were obtained from Huia and Laden (0.9 mt DM/ha each) compared to the Khumal cultivar 0.7 mt DM/ha (Pandey et at 1990).
Significance of white clover to improve the quality and quantity of native pastures in Nepal
The legume component in the pastures are extremely lacking in Nepal. A large number of legume species are introduced and tested in Nepal.
The legume have ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen to the soil. Such and ability of legumes has been utilized by farmers to increase crop and forage production. In pasture based animal production country like New Zealand, legumes mainly white clover provide the main source of nitrogen to pastures. Such system can substantially reduce inputs in chemical fertilizer and have the added benefit of improving feed quality for grazing animals. In Nepal, where the use of fertilizer is expensive and beyound the capacity of the farmers as well as very difficult to transport to the remote areas, white clover in pasture system could be a boon to increase fodder production in terms of quality and quantity.
Realising the need of legumes as biological nitrogen fixer in pasture system, some attempt have been made to incorporate legume into the existing vegetation. For example, use of white clover into the temperate grasslands.
Overseas studies reported that a well grown legume cover generally add 110 to 220 kg N/ha/yr under the pasture system. There is no such studies carried out in Nepal. The general observation to measure the N-fixing ability to show that compared to the pure grass sward with various dose of nitrogen fertilizer the legume-grass mixture yielded increased DM production of legume by adding the atmospheric nitrogen to the soil.
White clover is the most promising species for the range seeding at high altitude areas of Nepal. However, in some cases white clover are becoming a weed especially in Rasuwa and Kathmandu valley. As the white clover is a very palatable and remains green even when the other native herbaceous species dries out, casualty of livestock have been reported due to bloat in Rasuwa. Therefore this legume should be grown in mixture with grass and should be properly utilized.
• Grela, A. 1990. Lessons learned from RAS/79/121 about experimental methodology and regional issues concerning some trials in Nepal and Bhutan. Proceedings of the Regional Seminar on Himalayan Pasture and Fodder research 222-24 March, 1990, Kathmandu, FAO/UNDP.
• LARC, 1988/89. Lumle Agricultural Research Centre, Annual Report, Lumle.
• Pande, R.S. and Joshi, N.D. 1991. Pasture and Fodder Situation at High altitude Region of Nepal. Proceedings of the Regional Workshop of the Himalayan Pasture and Fodder Research Network, Regional Seminar, 13-19 November, Palampur, India.
• Pande, RS 1994. Opportunities for fodder and pasture development and promosing species in Nepal. II National Conference on science and Technology. RONAST, 8-11 June 1994, Kathmandu.
• Pradhan, D.R. 1988/89. Introduction and Screening of Indigenous and exotic forage species at Lampatan. Progress Report FY 2045.46; Lampatan Livestock research Station, National Agricultural Research and Service Centre, Kaski, Nepal
• Pradhan, D.R. 1989. Research needs in grasses and legumes. Proceedings of the workshop on Research needs in Livestock Production and Animal Health in Nepal, Jan. 1-7, 1989. NARSC Central Livestock Development Centre, Khumaltar