What clover is best to plant?

May 13, 2019

Basic clover concepts

1-What grows the fastest, is the most nutritious early on.

2-What lasts the most years, takes longer to establish.

3-What tolerates wet the best, will test the more nutritious in wet conditions over less wet tolerant species

4-What tolerates dry the best, will test better in those conditions over forages that are not as drought tolerant.

 

Everyone asks what is the best clover to plant? That answer is NOT simple. There are about 15 different clover species. They all have different soil, fertility and weather requirements. They can yield from 1.5 ton per acre per year to upwards of 8 tons. Perennial clovers that last the most number of years are not one's that are great year 1.

 

I have sold a lot of different species in my career. I will have about 15 different clovers in my test plots. What my answer would be, you can't fool mother nature but you can best handle what she throws at you. My food plot bible says though shall always plant something that tolerates wet, something that tolerates dry and something that grows fast. No one can predict the weather. Another reason for this is having something that matures at different times. The concept is called bio-diversity.

 

There are forages that I have a lot of experience with and a love for, one being balansa fixation clover. Yes, the deer and my research says there is a long lasting perennial clover that is incredible but here is where I want people to pause.

 

No matter what you plant genetic wise that is only a small part of the equation in your success. What will take any clover from 1.5 ton to 2.0 or 3 ton per acre is your management, your fertility and your decisions on how to handle integrated pest management and integrated weed management.

 

100 different food plotters could plant balansa fixation clover and the results will all be different on yield, nutrition and attraction. That seed you plant has done it's job after it's germinated, then it's how it makes roots, uptakes nutrients and handles what mother nature throws at us. That is where a great manager can make something out of most forages and a poor manager can take a high yielding forage and experience less than ideal results.

 

So instead of asking what clover to plant, what blend would be best for my own situation. That is where guys like me who are consultants can steer you in the right direction. Be well!

 

 

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