When hunters think of clovers, generally its the perennial variety. The benefits of white and red clovers are phenomenal. Add in chicory and you have a high powered food source for 9+ months a year. But what about annual clovers?
You'll see on our seed tags, we use a lot of annual clovers in our fall mixes. These clovers are an incredible nurse crop for brassicas and other nitrogen loving forages. Corn, Sunflowers, and Brassica mine a high amount of nitrogen from the soil. Lets take a look at 3 annuals that have high benefits for your soil and have high nutritional value for wildlife!
Frosty Berseem has provided amazing results in our test plots. With quality protein as high as 22.1% and a cold tolerance down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, it provides high quality nutrition for deer at an important time of the year! As a cover crop, you can expect Frosty to fixate 100+ lbs/acre of nitrogen back into your soil. With available forage within 45 days of planting, it can withstand high graze pressure and is highly sought after due to its excellent palatability.
Fixation Balansa is our favorite annual clover! Fixation is the most cold tolerant annual; withstanding temps down to -14 degrees Fahrenheit. This high powered annual can withstand a wide range of soil types, shade, and even grow through short periods of standing water. Fixations deep tap root will help break up compaction and mine nutrients deep within the soil. It is capable of creating more than 200 lbs/acre of available nitrogen with crude protein levels as high as 28.4!
Crimson Clover is a one of the most popular annual clovers for deer. It is a quick establishing clover that does well in poor soil conditions and shade. Creating more than 75 lbs/acre of available nitrogen, it is a great inexpensive option to be used as a nurse crop or improve soil. Crimson Clover does not tolerate cold weather conditions as well as the above mentioned annuals, but its a great option to be included in a mix as it provides good tonnage early in your deer season.
These 3 annual clovers not only provide excellent nutritional value for wildlife, but they are also incredible options for improving soil! You can find them in many of our fall focused mixes. If you've never tried these high powered annuals, we suggest giving them a chance this season!
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions! We have used these 3 forages together in custom mixes on many of our management properties for customers. We'd be happy to custom mix these annuals in a plot for you!