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Adding Alyce Clover to a pasture used for grazing?

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  • Adding Alyce Clover to a pasture used for grazing?

    I'm in a part of South Carolina that has VERY sandy soil and drains great but is a bit difficult to manage as far as pastures go. I have a sacrifice lot that I can keep my two in while whatever is growing. I have been doing a bit of research and I liked the fact that this clover would help add nitrogen to the pastures which it really needs. Anyone ever done this? I currently have 'some'coastal out there but honestly its mostly weeds and even a bramble or two! I am trying to do as much research as possible but am finding little in the way of this being used as a pasture 'grass'. Just wondering if there is some catastrophic reason why I shouldn't.

  • #2
    Clover will definitely fix nitrogen back to the soil. However, if you have very sandy soil, you most likely need more lime. Sandy soil can't hold nutrients as well as heavier soils and needs to be limed or at least soil tested every other year. Also, the soil pH needs to be in the correct range for grasses to get the full benefit of the nutrients that are in the soil (otherwise nutrients may be bound up and unavailable to the plant.) So depending on the current pH level of your soil, you may or may not see a good response from the clover.
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

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    • #3
      Do keep in mind that some horses are sensitive to clovers in varying intensity - from just getting what are called "Clover Slobbers" (uncontrollable drooling after ingesting clover) to full-blown allergic reactions.

      Comment


      • #4
        if I remember correctly, white clover is safe, and red clover causes slobbers. Alsike clover can carry an endophyte that causes liver toxicty, photosensitivity and can cause death. Alfalfa will fix nitrogen but it is not very tolerant of grazing. Mowing will help with the weeds. Your local agricultural office should be able to help you what will grow well in your area, and can help with a soil test, suitable fertilizers etc.

        Comment


        • #5
          Birdsfoot trefoil is another legume which will fix nitrogen
          and, unlike alfalfa, it tolerates grazing. And has pretty
          yellow flowers.
          Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
          Elmwood, Wisconsin

          Comment


          • #6
            I have had good success with clover, by keeping it mowed regularly. This removed the top, exposed the lower plant leaves to sun and kept the endophyte from having a "friendly" place to survive and cause problems. Dew or ground moisture is gone faster in sunshine, breezes, with such total exposure on the shorter growth plant.

            If you can mow regularly, it will enhance any pasture, and promote better rooting in the plants, so you have stronger plants with new growth for good grazing. We only have animals on the fields for about 12-13 hours a day, so any extra growth, lush grazing, still has limited intake by the horses. They would be porkers if out 24 hours daily, on our good fields. Probably be waddling up to the barn on that much food, even if we used them heavily!

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Goodhors, What type of clover? I was told the red clover was safe and white was not now I'm hearing differently here. Back to the research for me. I'll look into the other suggestions too. Thanks!

              Comment


              • #8
                That would be the white clover and Landino clover, in our seed mixes. Very low percentage of the mix, but a good plant to have because of the deep rooting. It was one of the few grazing plants that was quite green, growing well in last years drought. This popped up on a search for Landino clover, so you can learn about it. Clover part is on the right column, across from the date box.

                http://www.equiery.com/archives/AskT...rts_Clover.pdf

                I do get some volunteer clover plants, probably from seeds in the wind or birds, that may need removing from the field, like the red clover. That site above tells you red clover has the hairy stems to help ID it for removal. Probably reading the whole page could be helpful in learning more about clovers. They are a good plant if used correctly.

                My Mare and Foal mix seeds had Spring Green Festulolium in it, which the horses enjoy eating, like a tiny clover.
                Last edited by goodhors; Mar. 13, 2013, 10:11 PM. Reason: Had the wrong clover named.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                  That would be the alsike clover and Landino clover, in our seed mixes. Very low percentage of the mix, but a good plant to have because of the deep rooting. It was one of the few grazing plants that was quite green, growing well in last years drought. This popped up on a search for Landino clover, so you can learn about it. Clover part is on the right column, across from the date box.

                  http://www.equiery.com/archives/AskT...rts_Clover.pdf

                  I do get some volunteer clover plants, probably from seeds in the wind or birds, that may need removing from the field, like the red clover. That site above tells you red clover has the hairy stems to help ID it for removal. Probably reading the whole page could be helpful in learning more about clovers. They are a good plant if used correctly.

                  My Mare and Foal mix seeds had Spring Green Festulolium in it, which the horses enjoy eating, like a tiny clover.
                  I'd stay away from alsike clover in any pasture mix for horses.
                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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                  • #10
                    I would stay away from it, too - also, depending on your climate, it will stay green and growing when everything else is eaten down and then the horses can over-graze on it. A little of it in the seedmix will soon become a lot in the pasture. But you may have to get a special mix made up for you. Alsike is how it is spelled, (I think?)
                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I've read Alsike clover is dangerous but what about Alyce? They are 2 different clovers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                        Birdsfoot trefoil is another legume which will fix nitrogen
                        and, unlike alfalfa, it tolerates grazing. And has pretty
                        yellow flowers.
                        And lives about forever if you can get it established. BUT, it does better in the north.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Yeah, I looked at that one and I'm told it doesn't do so well in my climate zone. The alyce sounded perfect but I've never heard of it used by horse people. I hear its not good for baling or you have to be very careful baling but I just want to graze my horses on it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TwoBrooksFarm View Post
                            Goodhors, What type of clover? I was told the red clover was safe and white was not now I'm hearing differently here. Back to the research for me. I'll look into the other suggestions too. Thanks!
                            The only time I've ever had "slobbers" is in drought years when the only thing growing was white clover. I've never had an issue with red clover as either pasture or hay. My vet also told me it was the white, not red, clover causing the problem.

                            I overseed my pastures/hay fields with red clover. Love the stuff. My horses are not air ferns 'cept maybe three of them, so it keeps them in good condition with minimal grain.

                            ETA: I usually just buy "medium red" generic clover. Since I don't do extensive seed bed prep and maintenance, it's not cost effective for me to do the "name brand" thing.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for everyone pointing out the WRONG clover in my previous post! I removed the Alsike (bad clover) which I knew was bad, but wrote anyway. Seed label did NOT have Alsike on it. I have corrected it to read white clover.

                              I SURE don't want the Alsike or Red clovers in my grazing fields, because of the chance of skin photosensitivity developing.

                              Had to deal with a Pony Club animal in our local Club with that problem and it was miserable stuff. Skin seepage was constant on the white parts, unless they were covered DAILY with zinc oxide in some form. And that was a lucky pony, ONLY had a white nose and front socks that seeped. If not treated with the zinc oxide, the constant seepage caused hair to fall out, skin got raw, just from being out in the sunshine for short times. With the zinc applied daily, there were no issues or nasty looking white parts. Just greasy skin, hair and dust collecting on those greasy parts. However photosensitivity is something that owner MUST stay on top of with daily care. Skipping even one day can cause problems to start and it takes more than one day to get back to normal looking legs.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
                                The only time I've ever had "slobbers" is in drought years when the only thing growing was white clover. I've never had an issue with red clover as either pasture or hay. My vet also told me it was the white, not red, clover causing the problem.
                                Clover Poisoning (photosenstivity and possible liver damage) and Clover Slobbers are not the same thing, and have different results in the animal.

                                Slobbers go away when you take the animal off the clover with the fungus on it. Might take over 24 hours to clear the horse system of fungus, get the slobbers done with. But they DO go away when clover is removed from horse diet.

                                The Clover Poisoning creates photosensivity and sometimes liver damage, which are permanent in the anima. So far Red Clover, Alsike Clover, seem to be the causes of Clover Poisoning, though new research is still ongoing about this.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Have you checked for problems with Alyce clover in horses? My search didn't find much beyond plant details, not being toxic to cattle and having pink flowers.

                                  A possible drawback might be that this is an annual plant, needs to be seeded for return next year. If grazed a lot, Alyce doesn't set seed to regrow itself. I am used to perennial clover, so high cost of mixed pasture seed is returned year after year. I try not to buy annual seeds at all.

                                  But you are in a different area, so maybe strong annuals do well there, over the perennial plants. Just know you will probably need to reseed the Alyce again next year.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Yeah, I read it would need to be reseeded but hopefully next year we will have better fields and can grow some better perennial mixes. I really liked the thought of feeding clover because its said to have similar nutritional value of Alfalfa but would actually grow here when alfalfa won't. I am just wanting to make sure Alyce is safe for them.

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