Trefoil

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Dec 18, 2004.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I brought this up before on the beekeeping thread because there is a fair amout of birdsfoot trefoil growing in one pasture. I'm sure there is good reference information about it. I believe it's a good legume and nitrogen producing source. It's supposedly good to prevent bloat in cattle, etc.

    If anyone uses trefoil in thier farming adventures please share. What animals do you use to benefit with trefoil pasture?
    Why don't I hear more of farmers using trefoil? Is it good for other than cattle, or is it too rich or not nutritious enough?
    I heard that trefoil honey is excellent. Is it?

    Let's hear it folks. Tell me your experience with trefoil, or would you consider it in one of your pasture endeavors?

    Rich
     
  2. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    My Uncle used to grow birdsfoot trefoil for the dairy cows. I don't use any legumes as my horses don't need the protein. I don't know about it's use with beef cattle either.

    Stacy
     

  3. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'll be interested in the respnses to this, too. I've been doing some research on frost seeding, and had decided to go with red clover and birdsfoot trefoil. I have sheep and goats.
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    There is mixed red clover with another pasture area. I'm sure one thing to consider for beekeeping might be very good. What livestock DO benefit by legumes besides dairy cattle? How would this possibly benefit a range for turkesy or chicken tractor methods for organic farming?
    I tell you, this trefoil is nearly self seeding where it grows thick from year to year.
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Trefoil can be tricky to establish, it isn't the best under heavy grazing conditons and is especially weak in fresh stands. I used to hear of feedign trefoil seeds to cattle as it would pass straight through and be deposited in teh manure which had the double benefit of instant cover and cows won't graze near their own manure. It kind of protected it! Won't work with sheep BTW, to efficient digestion and chewing! It's nasty hay to dry and handle in small squares as it is quite prickly. Excellent feed though. I rather see vetch growing myself.
     
  6. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Ross,
    Thanks for the useful input. I wouldn't likely consider the trefoil area to put up into hay. There is a fair amount of vetch that grows spotty. I never considered that would be good pasture food.
    One thing I've noticed near the gardens where the trefoil blossoms and it attracts a lot of pollinating bumble bees and such. Could be useful in that regards. What about cutting it and feeding to poultry?
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I don't see that it would be a problem, the only thing is that it is a wet plant so harvesting too much will give you a rotting plant fast. I'm no poultry expert though.
     
  8. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    poultry would be a very inefficent use of the forage, best use is green chop or pasture for ruminents. bees do love it!made only one batch of no rain round baled hay outa it. as ross says it was real prickaly! baled and stooked many thousand bales manualy till round bales came in. hard to silage too as it cures slow.lots of phosphate to start and a clean seed bed essential.saw a pastured poultry outfit that went behind the dairy cows to clean up the pasture behind the cows i beleive he seeded in barley after grazing and then two weeks later the hens .crops are not set up to handle coarse material. this was in eastern ont. but now he lives northern new york or pa. still going as far as i know! pasture also got a coat of liquid manre early summer and frost seeded clovers.
     
  9. keithil53

    keithil53 Member

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    Due to its reputed non bloat property,I planted a field in the north west corner
    of my 80 for cattle.never did well and eventually the field was take over by fescue from the waterway.This was in central Illinois about30 years ago and maybe 25 years ago got rid of the cattle and that area is now in CRP.Although
    there is none at the original site there are patches throughout the CRP ,pasture,
    and roadside so I assume birds eat the seed and spread it that way.I bought some goats to clean the brush and its not their favorite but neither is alfalfa.
    Mine has never been good enough to cut for hay but I think its a good choice for pasture.
    Keith
     
  10. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Medium red clover and timothy grows well frost seeded and the timothy is excellent horse feed.
    It will come right up through the clover without smothering it out. This helps increase the total yield quite a bit. Timothy will last in the clover until the clover needs to be resown. I'm not sure why but trefoil is hard to get started here. May be the climate.
     
  11. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    We have heard good things about the benefits of adding this to pastures for grazing. We have found it extremely difficult to find a supplier of this seed in Missouri. MODOT has planted it for miles along some of the major highways in Kansas City...so it must be available from somone closeby. We've also heard it is difficult to establish but that it does at least reseed itself once you get it going. If you know of somone who has this seed at a reasonable price...let me know. :)
     
  12. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Ive got a pasture of birdsfoot trefoil..... I believe it was originally planted here to help hold the soil on the hillside..... It grows like a freaking weed, the one benefit it has done for my pasture is when it is cut for hay, the trefoil grows back over the teasle and crowds it out..... so eliminationg a really bad pest.....

    One nieghbot who cut my hay told me a fella bought some of this hay and lost a couple horses on it..... seems they ate it but got no feed value out of it for some reason.... his other horses were ok though. And some cattle wont eat it all for hay until "starved to it" so to speak.....

    Drying it is a several day task, however 2 years past mine was cut one day a baled the next morning...... 104 in the shade with wind all night. It gives me a little over a ton and a half to the acre dryland, no fertilizer added. And the honey bees all over this stuff when in bloom.

    William