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2013-162 New Forage Legumes for Sustainable Summer Pastures

Researcher: Paul Jefferson/Bart Lardner

Funded: $10,000

Project Description:

Number of years: 4

Producers have reported that "cool season" grasses do not producer as well in the summer as they do in the spring, while some research suggests that native prairie clovers are adapted to warm season growth in the summer. This project notes combinations of newer varieties of forage like sainfoin, purple or white prairie clover, yellowhead alfalfa etc, that have high tannins.

Finding high forage production throughout the growing season reduces feeding and forage costs, so the researchers plan to evaluate yeild, forage quality, legume persistance, and beef cattle gain.


Various mixtures of legumes and grasses were evaluated on sites near Swift Current and Lanigan through two experiments. The first experiment noted the effects of July and September harvest dates, while the second experiment evaluated how these various binary mixtures performed with regards to yield, quality, palatability, animal performance, and profitability.

While there were different agro-climatic conditions, all of these mixtures were profitable for late summer and fall grazing. The legumes studied included various sainfoin, alfalfa, vetch, and clover varieties. The grasses studied included various wildrye and bromegrass varieties.

Weather conditions, including precipitation, did create differences between the Swift Current and Lanigan results. Native clover species were found to have lower protein levels, making them less recommended for fall stockpiling.
More information can be found here:

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