In my post, 2009 New Hay Seeding, I detailed forage plantings I have tried in the past. This is the recipe I tried in 2005. Pounds are per acre. “9 lbs. Birdsfoot Trefoil, no alfalfa, 4 lbs Climax Timothy, and 1 lb. Perennial Ryegrass on a bottom. I envisioned a sea of yellow flowers prime for grazing on this creek bottom prone to flooding. Instead, we had high weed pressure seeding year and the Trefoil never amounted to anything besides a plant here and there.”
Birdsfoot Trefoil is a unique plant. It will live in wet conditions, which describes this creek bottom part of the year. It will maintain its quality for a longer period than most plants; so it can be stockpiled and grazed when it is needed. It is also unique among the legumes because it will not cause cattle to bloat. Can you see why I was excited to establish this plant?
My level of excitement was inversely proportional to my disappointment. I spent a couple of hundred bucks on the Trefoil and I had to mow the weeds off several times just to make it look decent.
We considered rotating back into corn the next spring but did not. We continued to mow and graze this pasture/hay field. We didn’t make dry hay off of it because weeds don’t make good hay.
As we cussed and grazed this field, a curious thing happened. It transformed itself. Look at what I say about this pasture now. “The good news is we had thick, tall Timothy the first couple of years and the Ryegrass just seems to keep getting thicker. The cattle love grazing this field now.”
Instead of Birdsfoot Trefoil as the companion legume to the grasses, White Clover volunteered for the job. We never planted White Clover, it just came. Cattle love grazing White Clover. There must be a tremendous amount of seed, sitting in the soil, just waiting for conditions to be right. Look at this pasture, now. Beautiful!
City-girlfriend is a new addition to my blog. She is not a new addition to my life. Last year about this time we started a relationship and struggled through seven months. Like the Trefoil, each of us had an idea about what the relationship should look like. Weeds!
After five months apart, we tentatively started seeing each other again. It’s early, but we’re finding some White Clover where weeds used to grow.