Clover grass pastures are an important feed source for dairy cows and its area in 2015 was approx. 259.000 ha (Statistics Denmark, 2016). The optimal clover/grass ratio in a first year's field is 40-50% clover, and it is important to maintain an active clover population throughout the growing season. A high clover/grass ratio gives a higher feed uptake and thus higher performance of the cow. This effect is also known as the 'legume plant effect'.
The goal is therefore to get a larger clover percentage in our clover pastures. However, the cultivation of clover grass also means that there is internal competition between the clover and the grass for water, light and nutrients. The clover is able to fix nitrogen (N) from the air, but if there is enough N in the ground, the grass will outperform the clover. It is thus possible to change the clover / grass ratio by adding more or less N.
In practice, it is found that the clover percentage in a first year field is from 20 to 40% and in a second year field from 10 to 50% . The project's goal is to have an operational prototype sensor (CloverSenseCam) for tool-based image capture, 1 smartphone app (CloverSenseApp) and a web-based decision support system (CloverSenseWeb) that can determine the varying clover / grass ratio in the field and produce differentiated N-allocation map, so yield is increased by 5%, compared with the average yield of 8000 FEN per ha.
The project is financed by Innovation Fund Denmark.
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