What perennial legumes would you suggest?

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Hi Forage folks,

I only have 8.5-ish acres of pasture east of Wichita, in El Dorado. I’ve been told most livestock would starve with what’s now growing. So I thought I’d add some Texoma Max Q ll Fescue to what little Bluestem I have growing and plant a mixture of clovers/legumes as well. What perennial legumes would you suggest?

Medium-red, annual lespedeza,  Arrowleaf, white clover??? I’m looking to raise a couple of feeder steers and a few St Croix type sheep and move them often with portable fencing. Your thoughts on Clover/legumes?

Thanks so much for the great question! Here’s two great responses

  • It is great that you would add a cool season grass to your bluestem.  This will give you a longer grazing season throughout the year.  However, management will be tricky as the fescue could take over your bluestem.  Adding legumes to the pasture is another efficient way of boasting the protein and nutrient value of the pasture.  Oh course, when the legumes get to growing, the livestock will selectively graze those first, so the correct stocking rate is essential so they will not graze them out of the pasture.  However, legumes are easy to establish/reintroduce and inexpensive. As for which legume, in a grazing situation, I like red clover. Easy to establish, inexpensive, has a large leaf and is hardy. Lespedeza is good and other legumes will work but I have had good results with red clover.  Red clover can be established in fall or spring, but a frost seeding in February seems to work best in SE Kansas.  That would be late February.  Add 3-5 pounds of clover seed to some DAP or Potash and put it in a fertilizer buggy to spread it.  You need at least 50 pounds of product to spread with the seed.  Lespedeza is a legume that I would only seed in the spring and would need to be planted every year.  Your ladino and red clovers may last a couple of years before reseeding. – Dale Helwig,Cherokee County Ag Agent, KSU
  • The most popular introduced legumes to put together for this project would be a medium red clover, Ladino clover, and birdsfoot trefoil. I would also add that while doing an inter-seeding project, it might be an opportunity to put chicory in this planting as well. The small seed size would be comparable to the other species in the mix and not be an issue for drilling the blended mix. – Trent Page, Sales Manager, Star Seed, Inc.
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