Home' Smart Farmer : February 2015 Contents Smart pastures
A bee perches on a Cobra balansa clover. The crop has a large seed size
compared to other varieties.
Cobra is an early to very early flowering hard-seeded balansa clover.
'Early' Cobra clover
an ideal winter feed
By PAULA THOMPSON
FARMERS looking at pasture
options for the 2015 season
are being urged to consider
the use of new-release balansa clover
Seed Distributors' Sean Coffey said
Adelaide Hills' heavier and slightly
acidic soil was well-suited to the
"It is vigorous and gets away early
before the cold sets in the Adelaide
Hills and provides great winter
feed," he said.
Cobra is an early to very early
flowering hard-seeded balansa clo-
ver. It is suitable for self-regeneration
in the long-term pasture phase.
The crop has a large seed size
compared to other varieties, offering
greater seedling vigor, early plant
growth and a larger flowering head.
Annual applications of superphos-
phate are usually required to achieve
maximum productivity. Additional
fertiliser applications may be needed
in spring, just before flowering, in
seed and hay crops with low levels
of soil nutrients.
Soil testing is needed to determine
appropriate application rates.
Balansa clover can be lightly grazed
in the first year. Care is needed to
limit grazing pressure during flower-
ing to ensure adequate seed set.
Paddocks should not be crash-
grazed or cut for hay in the first year
if the stand is expected to regenerate.
But plant residue should be
grazed over summer, to encourage
hardseed breakdown and maximise
Cobra can be used for continuous
and rotational grazing but persist-
ence is better under continuous
Very little seed will be produced
if mater flowering stands are
Looking at palatability, Cobra is
readily grazed by livestock, either as
green or dry feed.
It is susceptible to root rot during
establishment, particularly if sown
under cold, wet conditions.
Cobra can be grown in 200-mil-
limetre rainfall zones but balansa
clover is best adapted to temperate
climates with 350-800mm rainfall.
One of the features of Cobra is its
good salt and frost tolerance. It also
tolerates water-logging soil types.
Some of its limitations include not
being suited to deep infertile sands
and high soil salinity. It is tolerant of
Seeding rates are four kilograms
a hectare to 6kg/ha for dryland use,
and 8-12kg/ha for high-rainfall areas
and irrigated land.
Cobra is available for seeding this
year, with orders now being taken.
• Need to know more?
Early vigour means early feed
Suited to heavy, acidic soils
Available for 2015 seeding
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