Now through March is a prime time to add clovers to improve pastures.
Clovers can benefit pastures in several ways including increasing forage yield, improving animal performance by reducing the endophyte effect, fixing nitrogen which can reduce the need to add additional nitrogen fertilizer and providing more summer grazing.
Broadcasting clovers in late February/early March or “frost seeding” can save time and money. The freeze-and-thaw cycle helps broadcast seeds get into the soil. Research shows that frost seeding clover yields and stands are comparable to those that are conventionally planted.
White clover should be broadcast at a rate of 2 pounds per acre while red clover can be broadcast at a rate of 10 pounds per acre. Red is well suited for adding to hay fields and can provide later summer time grazing. White clover is the most tolerant of grazing and once established is more tolerant to 2,4-D herbicide than red clover.
Where pastures are thinned or additional quality is needed livestock producers should not miss the opportunity to establish clovers this winter.
For more information planting clovers or improving pastures, call Giles Extension at 363-3523.