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Ideal Legume % ?

Stocker Steve

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Some experts target 50 to 70% legume in their pastures. Usually by inter seeding clover every two to three years. Some talk about increased protein and others talk about increased TDN.
I have two paddocks that are over 90% legume. A little scary for grazing so I let it get mature before I turn the cattle in (and then it reseeds :( ). I tried inter seeding grass but it gets choked out...

What would you consider the ideal legume percentage? Have you had success blending any other legume(s) with clover?
 

dun

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Ours mostly run 50-80%. Got a couple that are almost pure clover. We graze them right along with all the other fields and haven't (knock on wood) had any issues in 15 years of doing it.
 

angus9259

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dun":2cfm4l77 said:
Ours mostly run 50-80%. Got a couple that are almost pure clover. We graze them right along with all the other fields and haven't (knock on wood) had any issues in 15 years of doing it.

Lost a bull to bloat on clover last spring. Do you put bloat blocks out or just hope for the best?
 

Stocker Steve

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dun":3c3qjxxv said:
Ours mostly run 50-80%. Got a couple that are almost pure clover. We graze them right along with all the other fields and haven't (knock on wood) had any issues in 15 years of doing it.

How mature are they when you turn the cattle in?
 

Aaron

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Trick is supposed to be hit the pasture with nitrogen to kill the clover back. Going to try it next spring on a piece that has gotten too heavy on the clover.
 

dun

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angus9259":3vx1jjum said:
dun":3vx1jjum said:
Ours mostly run 50-80%. Got a couple that are almost pure clover. We graze them right along with all the other fields and haven't (knock on wood) had any issues in 15 years of doing it.

Lost a bull to bloat on clover last spring. Do you put bloat blocks out or just hope for the best?
I used to worry about it but now we just turn them in. I think part of the reason we don;t have problems is because all of our pastures have such a high content of clover that the cows are adapted to it.
 

dun

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Stocker Steve":1imwkdwy said:
dun":1imwkdwy said:
Ours mostly run 50-80%. Got a couple that are almost pure clover. We graze them right along with all the other fields and haven't (knock on wood) had any issues in 15 years of doing it.

How mature are they when you turn the cattle in?
They run anywhere form new growth to setting seed. All depends on where they are in their growth when their rotation comes up.
 

Stocker Steve

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dun":ib9nk7bn said:
I used to worry about it but now we just turn them in. I think part of the reason we don't have problems is because all of our pastures have such a high content of clover that the cows are adapted to it.

:idea: Perhaps the best solution for bloat is planting more clover seed. :idea:

I think there are a lot of factors with bloat tendencies.
- I lost a fat SM Hereford, we had owned 6 months, who bloated the second morning they were on a 99% RC patch. It had frosted the second night. Her rumen content looked like all leaves that she apparently stripped off with her gums. All the other cows were fine.
- There is a breed tendency for some continentals to bloat. I think this kind of (big muscled Char or Limi) cattle just plain eat more. Every day is Thanksgiving for them.
- I lose one to bloat every couple years. Over half are purchased stockers on feed. The rest are purchased cows on clover pasture. I can not remember losing a home raised cow... So maybe you can select for resistance?
 

Stocker Steve

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angus9259":1za3704e said:
Do you put bloat blocks out or just hope for the best?

I used lick blocks one year and did not see a benefit, but I don't lose an animal most years.

I know some operations provide well water additives. Obviously this would provide more consistent intake than a lick.
 

dun

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Stocker Steve":qwrtr3ad said:
dun":qwrtr3ad said:
Ours mostly run 50-80%. Got a couple that are almost pure clover.

What causes almost pure clover paddocks for you?
Not sure. When we acquired this far it had been a dairy and a couple of fields had been fertilized with manure extensively. Those were the clover fields. To this day, even after interseeding fescue, OG and timothy they are still primarily clover fields. They're a mixture of red and wild dutch clover. The wild dutch is the only white clover, we've never seeded a white clover but the wild dutch seems to be almost a native clover by now.
 

wbvs58

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I have light acid granite soils, very low fertility with very little clay and organic matter to hold nutrients there. Clovers would have to be my forte. When conditions are right the clover content in spring would be close to 100% and I have no trouble with bloat, the clover content seems to build up gradually and the cows adapt very well to it. I rotate their paddocks every 2-3 days so they are always eating a fresh clover paddock. White clover is the main species though I add other varieties such as red clover, arrowleaf clover and subterranean clover when I put out my phosphorous fertiliser which we call single super phosphate to feed the clovers and if the clovers are successfully nodulated they provide the nitrogen for the summer grasses. If we have a good clover year the cows and growth of the calves will be 2nd to none.

Just an aside, I find the clovers to be pretty smart. Being hard seeded they seem to be able to control when we will have a big clover year. We can have a good autumn/winter and the phosphorous will be good yet the clover will only be average and sure enough spring and early summer will be very dry and hot. It does not seem to germinate unless it thinks it has a good chance of goiung through to flowering. This year even though we had a very good autumn winter and early spring it was only average and died off in the early heat and dry in early summer however since then even though things have been hot and dry it is appearing so my thinking is it will be favourable conditions in the new year.

Ken
 

Stocker Steve

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dun":1bt7fh6g said:
Stocker Steve":1bt7fh6g said:
What causes almost pure clover paddocks for you?
Not sure. When we acquired this farm it had been a dairy and a couple of fields had been fertilized with manure extensively. Those were the clover fields.

I think the fine grass roots scavenge P and K better than legumes. My clover fields have been bale grazed and are very high in P and K. If I reseed with a grass/legume mix the legumes take over. Red clover can form a hip high lodged jungle that light cannot penetrate.
 

Stocker Steve

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Ebenezer":1xyajq2k said:
Stocker Steve":1xyajq2k said:
What downside do you see with over 30% legume?
Lower annual forage yield, large bare areas in summer heat, less chance for stockpiling and strip grazing.

Most years we get a couple weeks of summer. Some years we don't. So legumes can out yield fescue in this country.

Issue is how to maintain legume stands without a lot of cost. Bale grazing to increase fertility, followed by (self reseeding) red clover, seems to work well if you have a long rest period periodically.

I have one central paddock that I use as a sacrifice paddock - - so it gets grazed more often to a lower height. It has a moderate stand of ladino clover but almost no red clover. No other paddock is like this.
 

Ebenezer

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Most years we get a couple weeks of summer
We get weeks of winter in between weeks of decent weather. :D Yesterday - near 70 but have already had nights of 20's. We either make or break with livestock in the summer: heat and humidity. General rule: average year will see all legumes disappear in late July, August, September until rain or cooler temps come back. Our weather pattern: a 90% annual chance of a 45 day period without rain. Generally in the summer.
 

Chuckie

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Durana Clover all the way. My pastures are 80% clover. It might be a bit more, but the Vaughns Bermuda is catching hold now. In the spring it is solid clover, but as it get hot, the grasses mix in. Just be sure to keep out a mineral with Rumensin in it, as it keeps down the frothy bloat by 80%. It also helps the cattle to digest what they eat better too. Co-op sells this mineral.
Durana reseeds itself and spreads by long runners.
 
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