Sothis eastern star clover

Page last updated: Thursday, 24 January 2019 - 12:08pm

Sothis is the first cultivar of eastern star clover (Trifolium dasyurum). It germinates very late in the season, up to six weeks after the break. This allows the use of non-selective herbicides or intensive grazing after the break to obtain >90% control of crop weeds. Sothis can grow rapidly in late winter or spring for grazing or forage conservation. It grows on mildly acidic and alkaline fine textured soils in low to medium rainfall areas (325-450mm).

Origin

Sothis eastern star clover was collected on the Greek island of Naxos in 1995. It has been developed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development with the involvement of research officers Angelo Loi and Bradley Nutt and the pasture breeding team, as part of the National Annual Pasture Legume Improvement Program.

Description and area of use

Sothis is an early-mid maturing cultivar, flowering approximately 100 days from a mid-May sowing in Perth. Flowers are generally purple on the tip and whitish or pink at the base. Each seed is yellow in colour, slightly smaller than subterranean clover, with an approximate seed weight of 6mg. It is suited to Mediterranean climate regions with 325-450mm average annual rainfall and can be grown on mildly acidic to mildly alkaline sandy-loam and loamy soils (pH 5-8 CaCl2).

Sothis full flower
Sothis full flower

Forage production and seed yield

Field experimentation in Western Australia has shown herbage production in spring of ungrazed Sothis up to 5.6t/ha with seed yields from 300-650kg/ha. It has good forage quality, with dry matter digestibility of 65-70% and crude protein levels around 20% at the start of flowering. Agwest® Sothis grows rapidly in winter and can be moderately grazed during this time. Its upright habit makes it an ideal plant for mixtures with grasses that can be used later in the season for conserving silage or hay.

Sothis dry flower head and seeds
Sothis dry flower head and seeds

Contact information

+61 (0)8 9368 3907