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Sweet clover questions

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:14 am
by cow pollinater
I Have a few questions for those of you that graze sweet clover.
I am a fairly recent transplant to Eastern Oklahoma so my experience with it is fairly limited. I am a beekeeper in addition to running cows so the attraction is obvious but I have a few concerns that I need to quell before I go slinging seed all over the ranch.
I'm aware of the cumourin problem in hay and silage but get conflicting information on grazing it. Have you ever had a problem with grazing it? My concern is that I may have problems with it spoiling as standing feed due to the humidity here and I need it to mature to get the bloom so mowing isn't an option.
I know that there are low cumourin varieties available but have not found seed from a US supplier. Does anyone know of a source?
Do you see any difference in varieties? Ideal for me would be annual sweet clover as I plan to frost seed and that would bloom the first year but it also has to work for the cattle so if another variety is better grazing I need to factor that in.
It is common on the side of the road here but never seems to get very far into pastures. Is there a reason for that beyond it being sprayed?
Is there anything else I'm to ignorant to ask about now that I would wish I'd have known at some later point in time? :lol:

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:34 am
by Faster horses
It is hard to get a good conception rate when grazing sweet clover at breeding time. I think it might be due to the high protein content. High protein (over 20%) can cause a high ph in the uterus and the eggs won't adhere to the uterine wall. I say this from a Dennis Price article in Beef Today magazine. Just a little FYI.

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:22 pm
by cow pollinater
Thank you, faster horses. I was aware of that problem but hadn't thought about it in a looong time. I doubt it will be a big problem as it rains enough here that my grass gets pretty washy and it won't be a pure stand but it is something I need to keep in mind.

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:54 pm
by Saddleup
A few years ago I helped a friend move some 200 hd of pairs into a sweet clover field in full blume. I had a urgent all the next aft. to come and move them back out as most of the cows were bleeding from both nostrils. Heard later it might have been the high nitrogen, but cant confirm. Anybody else experience this..???? :cboy:

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:42 pm
by Faster horses
The Vit K in sweet clover causes bleeding, but I thought it was only a concern at calving time. What you posted, Saddleup, I've never come across. Gee! Tough deal!

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:00 am
by cow pollinater
That doesn't sound like fun Saddleup. I think I might stick with other clovers in the main pastures and just use the sweet clover in the smaller pastures where I can work around it/get rid of it if it is causing problems.
Thank you both for your input.

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:25 am
by littlejoe
lush, green and growing--pre bloom--can be bloat, big time.

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:17 pm
by Mike
In pure stands of any clover, we only allow them 2 hrs per day of grazing. Makes the stand last much longer from the cows tromping it down, urinating, & crapping on it. After about the 3rd day they get accustomed to eating hard when they are let into it and will easily be moved out after the allotted time is done. Sure makes a lot of milk.

Reminds me of the ole dairy days when the milk buyer would refuse whole tanks of clover milk due to it's smell. Especially bad was grazing a field with clover and wild onions mixed. That was a sure way to lose a tank of milk.

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:43 pm
by Faster horses
We milked a cow for our own use (and sold some) and boy, when those cows consumed wild onions, it was a terrible smell and taste.

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:27 am
by Silver
Faster horses wrote:We milked a cow for our own use (and sold some) and boy, when those cows consumed wild onions, it was a terrible smell and taste.


Same deal here with stinkweed. I learned my lesson :lol:

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:07 am
by Mike
Silver wrote:
Faster horses wrote:We milked a cow for our own use (and sold some) and boy, when those cows consumed wild onions, it was a terrible smell and taste.


Same deal here with stinkweed. I learned my lesson :lol:


Bitterweed has got to be the worst.

Re: Sweet clover questions

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:45 am
by Lucky_P
CP,
it's evident that most folks on these discussion boards don't know sweetclover (Melilotus spp.) from white/ladino/red clovers(Trifolium spp.).

The dicoumarol/coumarin deal is only an issue with moldy sweetclover hay - and not moldy clover hay - grazing standing sweetclover is not a problem. Bloat can potentially be an issue with most any clover, including sweetclover
I'm unaware of sweet clover posing any fertility issues in cattle; phytoestrogens in some of the white/ladino clovers can cause some issues in sheep, but i've seen no reference to that being a problem in cattle.