A crimson clover cover crop can make all the difference.
Choosing a cover crop or forage crop for your land is essential to maintaining the health of your soil, your livestock, and your crops—playing a key role in slowing erosion, improving soil health and fertility, controlling and smothering weeds and pests, enriching your crops, and providing nutrition for your livestock. There is no shortage of options for cover and forage crops, each with their own unique advantages.
The right crop substantially improves the health and sustainability of your farming operations.
Crimson clover cover crop provides substantial benefits for crops as well as livestock.
An annual clover, crimson clover makes an excellent cover crop and forage crop. As a forage crop, crimson clover is excellent for hay, grazing, and green manure. Crimson clover cover crop performs best as a winter or spring crop during barley to early wheat planting dates, especially when mixed with a small grain or annual ryegrass.
Crimson Clover Benefits At a Glance
Crimson clover, also known as Italian clover, is an upright annual herb native to Europe with rich red or crimson flowers and slightly hairy leaves and leaflets. Crimson clover has found use across the United States, especially in the South, as a nitrogen-fixing forage or cover crop.
Grows Faster than
With taller flower stems, larger seed than other clovers, and more rapid and upright growth, crimson clover blooms early and grows adequately in acid soils but adapts well to other soils as well—even dry and less fertile ones.
Attractive to Livestock
Due to its high protein content, crimson clover is palatable to livestock as a forage crop. A crimson clover cover crop is a good nitrogen producer, and its distinctive red flowers are especially attractive to bees and other pollinators.
Crimson clover cover crop withstands front and fungus infections and has a higher-than-average shade tolerance, making it an excellent choice for interseeding in corn.
As a forage crop, crimson clover production usually achieves 10-14 tons per acre of fresh product, with a seeding rate of 15-25 lbs per acre. Planting crimson clover seed with other legumes or grasses leads to even further increases in quality and quantity.
Establishment of crimson clover seed
The best seeding dates for crimson clover are:
- Late summer
- Fall (before mid wheat dates)
- Early spring
The recommended seeding rate for crimson clover is 15-25 pounds per acre at a depth of ¼” to ¾” in fine, firm seedbed.
Sowing Crimson Clover
Crimson clover is best sown in autumn or spring with 15-25 lbs per acre. Because of its larger seed, it is not as well adapted to practices like frost seeding compared to other clovers.
Crimson clover cover crop is best used as a winter or spring annual in zones 6 and higher. In zones 4 and 5, winter survival of crimson clover can be improved to about 80% reliable when mixed with other species.
When used as a cover crop, crimson clover can be terminated before summer annual planting with herbicides or moldboard plowing.
Feeding Your Farm’s Future
At King’s AgriSeed, our mission is to ensure that your forage and cropping systems are balanced and profitable to ensure the long-term health of your soil, your crops, your livestock, and your business.
Our dealer network, stretching from Virginia to Maine, and our vast product line of improved varieties and hybrids empower you to choose just the right cover and forage crops.
Talk to us to find out if crimson clover is the right crop for you.
Ready to make your purchase?
If crimson clover looks like the right option for your forage and cover crop requirements, get in touch with us and locate a Kings AgriSeed Certified Dealer near you: