Teagasc is at the virtual BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2022. Teagasc Researchers Catriona Boyle and Deirdre Hennessy bring us this article on Clover research in Teagasc as part of the event this week.
If you have ever walked through a field, you will have seen a humble plant with white or pink flower heads. This is called clover. Although it doesn’t look like much, this plant has special qualities that make it good for the environment.
Clover can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. This means that fewer artificial fertilisers are needed for grass to grow.
Our researchers are testing how clover plants perform on Irish farms on a long-term basis and if cows can digest them properly.
With the help of bacteria living on it, clover captures nitrogen from the atmosphere and releases it into the soil once it dies. The nitrogen then helps plants in the field to grow.
Teagasc also has a clover breeding programme; our researchers are working on developing clover varieties that are perfect for the Irish climate.
Teagasc researchers are going one step further by using multispecies grasslands that include plants such as plantain and chicory. Find out more in the video below: