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Winter Interseeding Legumes                                                             The Midwest Cattleman · February 25, 2021 · P11

                      By Brad Schick, Nebraska Extension Educator           closer eye on soil nutrients as well  limit the ability to use a drill.
                                                                                                                 One of the biggest challenges
                                                                            as adjustments to current weed
         From a forage perspective,  Choosing a Location                    management strategies.  Most le- to interseeding is the competition
      winter is typically a time for        Picking the right pasture is  gumes are herbicide sensitive, so  from already established grasses
      using the resources we have on  critical to successful legume es- pastures with heavy weed pres- in  the pasture.    Because plants
      hand and planning ahead to next  tablishment.  Legumes need ade- sure that need treatment are not  that were grazed before going
      year’s growing season.  However,  quate levels of phosphorus and a  good candidates.                    dormant are slower to recover in
      there may be some opportunity  pH of 6 or greater.  Some species        This time of year, getting a drill  the spring, a heavily fall grazed
      to take this time to improve your  prefer pH closer to 7.  With this in  into the ground to interseed isn’t  pasture is a good candidate for
      pasture with some alternative le- mind, taking the time to soil sam- typically an option.  Normally fro- interseeding.   A more open can-
      gume seeding options.              ple is worth the time and effort  zen soil and direct seeding don’t  opy  and  less  competition  from
      Benefits                           before spending more money and  work well together, although with  surrounding plants will allow
         Interseeding improves pas-      time on seed.                      mild winters, there may be some  seedlings the opportunity to firm-
      ture production in two main           Additionally, maintaining  le- windows of opportunity. Even                     continued on page 27
      ways, through fertility and qual-  gumes in a pasture may require a  the topography of a pasture may
      ity.  Most legume species: alfalfa,
      clovers, birdsfoot trefoil, are high
      in protein and energy.  By adding
      them to the grazing options for
      your animals on grass, the overall
      diet throughout the course of the
      year can be improved, positively
      impacting animal condition and
         Additionally, legumes are well-
      known for their ability to pull
      nitrogen from the air and fix it
      in a form useable by plants.  In
      a  grass/legume  mixture,  the  le-
      gumes are not producing nitrogen
      for the whole pasture, but they
      are making enough for them-
      selves which greatly reduces the
      nitrogen demand for the pasture
      as a whole. This nitrogen applica-
      tion cost savings, keeps money in
      your pocket when it comes time
      to fertilize.

         Good things


       to those who

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