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crimson clover

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redheeler

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Hi everybody, This probably belongs in the crops and forage section but it doe's not look like anybody has posted or visited that board much since September so I'll put it here. I have been reading lately about using crimson clover as a cover crop and for improving soil structure in fields, I know back east and south they use it before corn and soybeans but does anybody further west use it before alfalfa and grass hay planting? I am in in south central Montana, nobody around here ever saw it but I wonder if anybody in these northern states like N Dakota Montana or Wyoming ect, has had any experience with it.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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I wonder if it doesn't like acid soil better then our Alkaline soils out west?
What about something like Hairy Vetch. For long term grazing what about Cicer Milk vetch?
 

redheeler

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I wonder if it doesn't like acid soil better then our Alkaline soils out west?
What about something like Hairy Vetch. For long term grazing what about Cicer Milk vetch?
I think it does all right on alkaline soils however in my area we do have some acidic soil also. I wasn't thinking of grazing , The deal is we have some hayfields that were always in alfalfa and brome grass and later alfalfa and indian orchard grass. The orchard grass did all right but the alfalfa never did as well compared to other fields since it is a sort of sand stony type of loam. According to what I have found out crimson clover get's pretty huge root mass and adds quite a bit of nitrogen and humus to the soil. My thought was maybe before alfalfa and some kind of grass do a cover crop of this and oats the year before it would improve the soil humus wise then plow it up and plant the alfalfa and grass, but yeah I imagine we would have seen it out here before somewhere if it ever would have worked in this country. Sometimes though you will find things that do well in this state in limited area's but don't work at all anywhere else like sanfoin .Around Great Falls they raise lots of it, in my area it will work for about two years then goes straight downhill after that
 

Big Muddy rancher

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I would spray it down rather then plow or work it down. Leaves the soil biology more intact,
We have been using oats and field peas for baling using the peas to help with the nitrogen. Tried Hairyvetch but with the droughts we didn't get the results we were hoping for.
 

redheeler

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Thanks for the reply. I didn't know about the cicer milk vetch looks interesting though, do they use it a lot in your area? I worked for an outfit in the early ninties where we put in barley and peas, baled it and fed that winter. Boy with a little ferment it smelled like silage and those cows sure went for it
 

Big Muddy rancher

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Some are using it, you need scarified seed as it is a bit tough to get to germinate. They say once established it's great for grazing,
We used the Hairy Vetch similar to what you are thinking of using the clover for.Just hit a real drought year so results weren't quite what we hoped for.
 

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