Cover Crop clovers
Clovers are used as a cover crop to build soil. They are prolific producers of nitrogen. Several commonly used clovers are listed below.
CISCO currently handles three different varieties of crimson clover:
- AU Robin
- Dixie, coated and raw
- White Cloud
- Kentucky Pride
Crimson clover is a southern forage that has been moved to the north to be planted as a cover crop. It will generally overwinter.
It does well in warm weather and needs to be seeded 6-8 weeks before a hard freeze; it is best planted after wheat.
Crimson clover does well on many soil types, but does not like heavy, poorly drained soils. It can produce 70-120 lb/acre of nitrogen if allowed to bloom in the spring. Many farmers like to follow wheat preceding corn.
Crimson clover terminates easily in the spring, or it can be harvested as a high quality forage crop. Tonnage generally runs 1 - 2 tons/acre depending upon growing conditions.
Fixation Balansa Clover has been selected for several attributes such as winterhardiness, increased yield (whether for forage or biomass),
and late maturity.
We have seen using Fixation Balansa clover because of how late it can be seeded. It works well after row crop harvest.
In the fall don't expect to see much top growth, but take a shovel and look at the root growth.
In the spring, it will take off in a hurry and produce a nice amount of tonnage and nitrogen.
The other nice attribute of Fixation is that it breaks down quickly when terminated because it has hollow stems. The hollow stems also help it dry quickly as a forage.
It only takes a couple of pounds per acre of seed. Fixation is a nice alternative to crimson clover and we have had good success seeding it with cereal rye in the fall.
Balansa Clover in Iowa
The video below shows the potential value of Balansa clover on your farm. It's under one minute in length.
Frosty berseem clover
Frost Berseem Clover is a cold tolerant berseem clover that is an alternative to crimson clover. Frosty has been able to survive temperatures as low as 5 degrees F without winterkilling. It is also an excellent source of livestock feed.
Frosty berseem will tolerate low pH soils as well as saturated soils. It is a great nitrogen producer. It's best to plant Frosty 6-8 weeks before a hard freeze. It likes to grow in warm weather.
Frosty Tech Sheet