Birdsfoot trefoil can be seeded in combination with grasses and can be grazed as a non-bloating legume. Yield may reach 4 tons of hay per acre on well-drained soils with plenty of moisture (at least 20 inches/year). It does well on soil with moderate to poor fertility (although plenty of phosphorus is needed), and tolerates a pH range of 5.5-7.5. It’s often less productive than alfalfa on deep, fertile, well-drained soils, but tolerates periods of drought. Stems are smaller and less rigid than alfalfa stems, and plants reach a height of 18-20 inches. More palatable than alfalfa, and can be a good alternative in areas that are not suitable for alfalfa production. When added to pastures, animal performance is increased.
Responds well to fall stockpiling—holds maturity and quality after a frost, and stockpiling helps increase root reserves at the end of the season. Major pests to watch for: Leafhoppers, spittlebugs. Crown and root rots are the most significant diseases. Trefoil is slow-growing and not as competitive at first, so weeds should be controlled prior to planting. Once trefoil establishes, it can form a dense mat of growth.
Cutting/Grazing Management: Regrowth originates from buds formed at leaf axils, so be sure not to graze too much stem growth. Wait until plants are 8 inches high to graze, and allow 24-38 days of rest period. Leave at least a 4” stubble. A 60 day rest period every three years helps maintain the stand.
When cutting for hay, take the first cutting at 1/10 bloom and leave a 4-6” stubble. Second cutting mid– to late-August.
Must be inoculated with birdsfoot trefoil type inoculant.
Great for wildlife food plots!