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Cefalu Annual Clover

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Cefalu (Trifolium vesiculosum) is an annual clover, which demonstrates early prostrate growth and then becomes erect during the spring period, growing up to 1.2m tall. It has thick stems with many tillers and produces large leaves with a “V” shape marking, a distinctive characteristic of arrowleaf clover. Cefalu is deep rooted and can extend its root system up to 1.5m into the soil profile, sourcing water from a perched water table. This enables Cefalu to produce herbage long after traditional pastures have dried off and makes it a very valuable pasture, where rainfall is likely to be insufficient for growth of other various annual and perennial legumes.

Cefalu has excellent seed production ability and a high level of hard seed, which makes it well suited to long term cropping rotations. It has excellent tolerance to acid soils but will not tolerate extended waterlogging and thus, heavy soils must be avoided. Cefalu arrowleaf clover can be used for hay, silage or green manure. Its tall erect growth habit makes it is well suited to grass/oaten hay mixtures. Cefalu can provide high quality feed (18–22% crude protein) and is ideal for hay, with excellent herbage production during the spring and early summer period.

Key features
• Early maturity - aprrox. 110 days to flowering (20 days earlier than Zulu II)
• Excellent tolerance to acid soils
• Deep tap root and extensive root system
• Low incidence of bloat
• Excellent regeneration from hard seed
• Upright growth habit making it well suited to grazing or hay

Key benefits
• Due to its extensive root system, it can extract moisture and nutrients on deep acidic sands and utilise perched water tables – thus reducing the potential for worsening salinisation
• With its early maturity, Cefalu is suitable for grazing – using less moisture and producing similar amounts of herbage than other varieties of arrowleaf clover

Suggested sowing rates
Mix: 2–5kg/ha

Pest Resistance
Arrowleaf clover is susceptible to red legged earth mites (Halotydens destructor) and control measures need to take place prior to sowing or soon after germination to ensure successful establishment. Cefalu can be susceptible to root knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.), although this is not common.

Disease resistance / tolerance
No significant diseases have been known to occur. Clover rot (Sclerotinia trifoliorum) can occur in dense swards in wet winters and the risk of phytophthora root rot (Phytophthora megasperma) following virus infections can be increased.

Agronomy and management
Cefalu is a very hard seeded annual that is well suited to long term cropping rotations. If allowed to go to seed in year one, it will not require re-sowing, should appropriate management be undertaken. To maximise seed set in the year of sowing to ensure regeneration and long term persistence, stands should not be grazed during the flowering period. In established stands, light grazing can continue during the flowering period but should be avoided to ensure persistence. Once seed set is completed, plant residues should be either removed or grazed during late summer to promote better seedling regeneration. Grazing during early establishment needs to be carefully monitored, as plant growth is not overly vigorous during the winter period. Once plants have established, spring production is vigorous and grazing pressure can be increased.

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