Red clover/Nitrogen

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carla

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They say that red clover will put back nitrogen in the soil. If you pasture is 30% clover, how much actual nitrogen will this put back in the soil? I know when you have nitrogen spread, you have to have more lbs per acre spread to come up with the actual amount of nitrogen per acre. I'm not sure I understand how this works. Thanks for any info.
 

D.R. Cattle

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Hmmm....I'll give this a try. Red clover and any other clover is a plant called legumes. There are others also which are not clovers. Legumes gather nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it into the soil. I've read studies where a good stand of clovers can fix up to 200 lbs of nitrogen per year into an acre of land. This is a substantial amount. Your other question about putting more out to yield actual nitrogen... I think you mean you have to put more fertilizer out. The analysis on the fertilizer you purchase has three numbers on it. All of the numbers are percentages. The first being nitrogen, second being phosphorous and the third being potassium. So if you are using 50 lb bags of fertilizer and the numbers are 10-10-10, that means 10% of each element or 5 lbs per bag will yield from that bag. Check with your local extension agent and gather a soil sample and have it analyzed. They'll tell you the nutritional levels of the soil and hopefully check your PH as well. It's real simple down here where I am. For bahia based forage pastures apply 60 lbs of nitrogen per acre in the spring. Phosphorous and potassium are adequately supplied by our soil. Try to maintain PH of 6. Grass will grow out of control.
 

D.R. Cattle

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carla":109eix84 said:
They say that red clover will put back nitrogen in the soil. If you pasture is 30% clover, how much actual nitrogen will this put back in the soil? I know when you have nitrogen spread, you have to have more lbs per acre spread to come up with the actual amount of nitrogen per acre. I'm not sure I understand how this works. Thanks for any info.
P.S. If you decide to plant legumes, you should not supply nitrogen to the soil, but phosphorous and potassium accordingly.
 

dun

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Glad you threw in the PS.
The reason for not applying nitorgen or very little in legume grass fields is because the grass will shade out the legumes and they just won't grow as well and therefore not supply the nitrogen and defeat the reasons for putting the legume in.

dun

D.R. Cattle":2siookqh said:
carla":2siookqh said:
They say that red clover will put back nitrogen in the soil. If you pasture is 30% clover, how much actual nitrogen will this put back in the soil? I know when you have nitrogen spread, you have to have more lbs per acre spread to come up with the actual amount of nitrogen per acre. I'm not sure I understand how this works. Thanks for any info.
P.S. If you decide to plant legumes, you should not supply nitrogen to the soil, but phosphorous and potassium accordingly.
 
A

Anonymous

Actualy it is not the legume that fixes the nitrogen. It is a bacteria that lives on the legume roots. You have to be sure to innoculate the seed with the correct bacteria to get the benefit of capturing the nitrogen. Some seed comes pre-innoculated but not all so check this before planting.

Dave
 
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carla

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I just rented a pasture that is almost all red clover. The most I have ever seen. There are large sections that no other grasses can be seen. Other then watching the cattle for bloat when I turn them in there, anything I need to watch for? Any suggestions on rotational grazing practices to keep the pasture in good shape. What months do red clover grow best?
 

dun

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Most of the growth in this/your area will probably be from mid to late march (depending on springs arrival) and into june. There will agin be some growth from mid/late september until the first hard freeze. We have clover now that is over a foot tall. Rotate them through the pasture just as you would any other forage. If you have a significant concern about bloat you might want to start them on a bloat block shortly before turning them in or insure that they're well filled before turning them in for the first time. We have several pastures that are close to 90% clover and haven't had a problem, but I keep an eye on them anyway.
dun


carla":2mjawvpl said:
I just rented a pasture that is almost all red clover. The most I have ever seen. There are large sections that no other grasses can be seen. Other then watching the cattle for bloat when I turn them in there, anything I need to watch for? Any suggestions on rotational grazing practices to keep the pasture in good shape. What months do red clover grow best?
 

Stocker Steve

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dun said:
If you have a significant concern about bloat you might want to start them on a bloat block shortly before turning them in or insure that they're well filled before turning them in for the first time. We have several pastures that are close to 90% clover and haven't had a problem, but I keep an eye on them anyway.
dun

Do you use bloat blaicks with 90% red clover? How mature is the red clover when you turn the cows in?
 

dun

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Stocker Steve":21i0ajhw said:
Do you use bloat blaicks with 90% red clover? How mature is the red clover when you turn the cows in?
We don;t use any bloat blocks. The cows are so used to clover being part of the forage mix that they just graze it along with everything else. I think a significatn part of our luck with not having bloat is the cows are accustomed to the clover. The clover runs anywhere from young plants upto seeded. It's all just a mixture with varying maturity dates based, I'm guessing, on when the plant started growing for the year. Until late summer in most years, we'll have everything from very young plants to old ready to die plants by the beginning of may.
 

Stocker Steve

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My issue is that I have some rough pastures with almost no legume and some newly renovated pastures with 50 to 80% legume. I am trying to bring up the clover in the rough pastures but my success with frost seeding is spotty. So the legume content changes a lot when the cattle are rotated...

My feed guy says ionosphore helps reduce bloat but he had no specifics on how much. Any experience with additives like that?
 

dun

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Stocker Steve":2eev5n7m said:
My issue is that I have some rough pastures with almost no legume and some newly renovated pastures with 50 to 80% legume. I am trying to bring up the clover in the rough pastures but my success with frost seeding is spotty. So the legume content changes a lot when the cattle are rotated...

My feed guy says ionosphore helps reduce bloat but he had no specifics on how much. Any experience with additives like that?

About the only addative that I can think of is we use minerals with CTC and IGR. I woould't think that either of those would have any affect.
I have to agree that frost seeding is a sometimes hit or miss deal. The past two winters we haven;t had enough soil moisture and freezing at the same time to do much good. And yet one field that is very gravelly the frost seeding from this winter work great. During the drought period last year we lost a significant portion of our clover component but the red clover seems to have rebounded much better then the white. But that may very well be because we have so much more red then white in the first place.

dun
 

alabama

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OK. We all hear about clover fixing nitrogen in the soil. However, I have asked the following question to several so called experts and have not gotten a good answer.
When does the fixed nitrogen become available to the grasses in the same field and how long does the fixed nitrogen? Crimson clover that heads out in the spring and then dies, is the fixed nitrogen able to be used by the summer grass that follows?
 

Dave

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There is not a concrete answer to your question. The nitrogen that is fixed by the bacteria is attached to the roots of the legume. It is in the form of organic nitrogen so it must mineralize into nitrate to become plant available. This process can be very slow or relatively quick. It depends a lot on the conditions in the soil. The micros in the soil that do the work of breaking this down function best when the soil is both moist and warm. It would be extremely difficult to determine how fast it will be available. But one thing about organic nitrogen it does not leach so it will be there in the soil waiting to break down and become available when conditions are right.
Dave
 

alabama

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Thanks for the reply. In alabama where the winters are warm I guess that most of the N is used before summer.
 

salemhigh

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red clover as well as white produce very little nit. the first year but the second year and on will produce as much as 250 to 300 pounds of as spread 34% nitrate if you have a 50% plus stand.as for bloat on red clover its very rare ,not near as likely as white ladino types,,,,,,,,,,also the nitrate production is only as good as the innoculant poor innoculation or old out of date seed may not produce any nitrogen
 

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