24 Feb 2009

Clover research against drought effects

6:32 am on 24 February 2009

Lincoln University scientists have identified a variety of clover that could help farmers make their pastures more drought-resistant.

Pastoral farming in New Zealand relies on clover in pasture to provide a source of nitrogen for grass growth.

But the white clover most commonly grown does not cope well with drought conditions.

More-frequent droughts have increased the pressure to find viable alternatives.

Lincoln plant biologist Dr Rainer Hofmann says early research has identified another clover variety, strawberry clover, that holds the promise of being able to survive and produce well in parts of the country that are prone to dry spells.

He says the next step is to do field tests at Lincoln to compare the species.

Dr Hofmann has also been working on breeding white clover to make it more drought-resistant.