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Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

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Stocker Steve

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I have some run down rented ground that I seeded down with a mix. The legume part of the mix included clover, alfalfa, and birds foot trefoil. Now 4 years later the clover and alfalfa are diminishing as you would expect, the BFT is increasing. I have never had this happen before. The only thing I can think of is that this land has marginal drainage and is only hayed once some years. Is this extra long rest period what is required for BFT to thrive?
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Hubby planted some BFT many, many years ago. I still have it throughout my farm - in pastures that it was NOT planted in. Cattle have spread it. Never very thick, but it's there.
BFT is a great plant for grazing because it is lush even if it blooms, just keeps growing - but, IDT it will hold up to heavy pressure with continuous grazing. I rotational graze.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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The thing with BFT, it flowers when it is real small, each flower makes seeds, the plant keeps growing & making flowers & making seeds. Normally, when a plant gets to the seed stage, it quits growing, but BFT keeps growing. So, my fields may be 30-40 days between grazing, so it sets seeds on the lower end of the plant - reseeding my pastures. that's why I said, it cannot handle continuous grazing. It would never have a chance to reseed. Not a long life expectancy on the actual plant.
 
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Stocker Steve

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I did not know BFT sets seed at the bottom of the plant first. I tried BFT w/ 21 day MIG rest periods and it was gone in a couple years. I don't think it even bloomed in most cases.

I can see that BFT likes one cutting per year in a hay setting, and in this case it competes with or beats branch root alfalfa, but when is a one cut system economical compared to a more typical two cutting system?
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I would think it would survive in a 2-cut hay field.
My paddocks get grazed maybe 4 (or more) times each summer. Sorry, I am speculating, going by what I see. Hubby was the Horticulturist in the family.
 

Silver

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Stocker Steve":2jj3i604 said:
I can see that BFT likes one cutting per year in a hay setting, and in this case it competes with or beats branch root alfalfa, but when is a one cut system economical compared to a more typical two cutting system?

When you live in a country like I do you need to learn to be quite happy with only one cutting. :nod:
 
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Stocker Steve

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I was on a 5 grazings per summer schedule.
I am going tall at about 3 grazings per summer now. Still not BFT worthy.
So BFT would seem to be a special situation legume for marginally drained hay ground.
 

chevytaHOE5674

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Few years back implanted BFT in a hay mix, for the first 2 or 3 years it was marginal at best. Last summer was cool and very wet here and that field was 99% pure BFT come July when it got cut. All of our fields are a one cut situation so I'm not sure how it would do being cut multiple times.
 

Silver

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Not BFT but similar... I have a pasture high along a ridge. Soil is poor and thin, lots of rocks. First place to dry out completely and brown off. Cows tend to over graze it even while the bush grass is lush. One part of it hasn't been reworked since it was originally cleared and planted in 1985, and I've noticed over the last ten years or so that the yellow flowered alfalfa is actually steadily increasing it's population. It's pretty impressive to say the least. Next time I try to rejuvenate more of that type of pasture I will attempt to track down some of that seed.
 

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