Ley seed production

Last changed: 06 December 2023

Participatory learning and action research

Project manager: Johanna Björklund, Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU

Project group: Ann-Charlotte Wallenhammar and Per Ståhl, The Rural Economy and Agricultural Societies; Karin Svanäng, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CUL), SLU

This project will constitute a continuation of our project which was carried out in the period 2005-2007, where we worked for shared learning and change in a participatory research process. New growers will be invited to join the group, which will be expanded and will consist of approx. 15 organic seed producers, preferably in the Mälar-Hjälmar area and in Östergötland, together with an advisor and, one or morea researchers and a facilitator (researcher). The advisor and researcher/s will act as facilitators for work in the group.

The group will continue to identify and develop relevant issues for commercial production of organic ley seed of: 

  • timothy 
  • red clover
  • meadow fescue 
  • white clover 

and to define methods and analyses to be used in answering questions. The focus is expected to be on growing of clover, where interest in questions concerning the effects of pollinators on yield levels have attracted great attention. We will also be working on strategies for price setting, knowledge of the yield potential of different cultivars and improvement of harvesting techniques.

The group will analyse and assess the results, which will then form the basis for changes in growers’ own operations and for driving and participating in changes in the surrounding sector, such as actions by industry and authorities, KRAV regulations, EU directives, etc.


Production of organic ley seed has increased strongly in recent years. Availability of clover seed is limited and the presence of excessive amounts of volunteer crop and weed seeds causes rejections. Production of organic white clover seed, which had previously been negligible, increased by 70% to 418 ha in the period 2004-2006. Contract growing is now carried out in central Sweden, where this crop was not grown previously, and demand for technical production information is great. Research and development based on the experiences and knowledge of organic ley seed producers are important for future research and development in this area.