Agricultural Research Center '' *- *
Research Report RC-1977-9 October 1977
WINTER ANWUUAL LEGU FORAGE PRODUCTION
-UIN S H niv. of Florida
N SOUTH CENTRAL A -76 -----
P. Hislevy, R. S. Kalmbacher, C. E. Dean and P. H. Everett-
Hinter-annual legumes (red, white, crimson, subterranean clovers, birdsfoot
trefoil and alfalfa) can provide a source of high protein and highly digestible
forage to Florida livestock. Forage production from these legumes is generally
available during the time of year when permanent pastures are contributing very
little. Production of some legumes can begin in December and continue through
July. These legumes may be rotationally grazed, harvested as green chop, or
made into hay. In fact, excellent quality legume hay can be produced during
the winter months.
Red and crimson clover and alfalfa are upright, bunchtype-plants that can
attain a height of 12 to 24 inches.
White clover, a strongly stoloniferous species and birdsfoot trefoil a bunch-
type plant, generally attain a height of 6-12 inches, depending on variety and
;razing. Regardless of legume seeded, these species.have the ability to fix
atmospheric nitrogen, providing free nitrogen to the legumes.
In order to obtain high yields of legume forage, selection of proper varieties
followed by good fertilization and liming practices and proper water control are of
The purpose of this study was to evaluate winter annual legumes for forage
production and persistence in south-central Florida.
Three winter annual legume studies were conducted during the 1976-77 growing
season. Two experiments were conducted at the Agricultural Research Center (ARC)
Ona and one at the ARC, Immokalee. The two studies conducted at the ARC, Ona were
as follows: experiment A, winter annual legume study seeded November 9, 1976 and
experiment B winter annual (live-over) legume study seeded November 25, 1974.
In experiment A Dekalb '185' alfalfa and 'San Gabriel' birdsfoot trefoil were
seeded on December 6 and 14, 1976, respectively. The winter annual legume experi-
ment at Immokalee was seeded on November 19, 1976. Throughout this paper the studies
will be referred to as experiment A, experiment B and Immokalee experiment.
1/ Associate and Assistant Professor ARC, Ona; Professor, Department of Agronomy,
Gainesville and Professor, Agricultural Research Center Immokalee.
The field plot layout for all three experiments was a randomized complete block,
replicated four times, with the exception of experiment B which contained three
replications. The Dekalb '185' alfalfa and 'San Gabriel' trefoil were replicated
Seeding rates of experiment A were as follows: red clover, birdsfoot trefoil
and alfalfa 10 lb/A, white clover 4 lb/A, red clover and lime pelleted 12 Ib/A,
crimson and subterranean clover 20 Ib/A. The Dekalb '185' alfalfa was seeded at
15 Ib/A. Seeding rates at the Immokalee experiment were as follows: red clovers,
i lb/A; alfalfa, crimson, and subterranean clovers, 20 Ibs/A; arrowleaf clovers,
Ibs/A; birdsfoot trefoil, 10 Ib/A and white clovers, 4 Ib/A. Lime pelleted
red and white clover were seeded at 10 and 5 lb/A, respectively. Seeding rates
and fertilization practices for experiment B are recorded in ARC, Research Report
At Immohalee, Furadan 10 G was applied as a nematicide at a rate of 20 lb
of active ingredient per acre. Furadan was applied on two of the four replications.
To control weeds in the slow-to-establish legume study, Eptam 7E was applied pre-
plant incorporated at a rate of 3.5 pints/A of commerical product (3 lb active/A).
Following broadcast seeding of experiment A and the Immokalee experiment they
were double cultipacked to obtain good seed-to-soil contact. Experiment A and the
Tmmokalee experiment were watered immediately following seeding with overhead and
seepage irrigation, respectively. A total of 17.8 inches of irrigation water was
applied on both experiments A and B, starting in early November and terminating in
late May. However, 9.1 inches of the 17.8 inches was applied in a 40 day period
after April 15. Following the initial irrigation at Ona, a considerable amount of
volunteer white clover germinated and emerged resulting in white clover contamina-
tion. However, after the second harvest the red clover and alfalfa competition
was so intense that the white clover was decimated. Irrigation was applied at
Immokalee at a capacity sufficient to maintain the water table 12-18 inches from
the soil surface.
Fertilization practices at Ona were as follows: experiment A received 0-53-106
lb/A N-P205-K20 at seeding, whereas 682 Ibs of 0-10-20 were applied on experiment
B. At Immokalee 540 lbs 0-10-20 plus 22 lbs/A of FTE 503V/ was applied. Calcium
and magnesium content in all experiments was adequate.
The initial harvest of experiment B (live-over study) was removed in late
December when plants were about 10 inches tall. The second harvest was removed in
early March, after which plants were harvested on a 4-5 week schedule. The initial
harvest of experiment A was removed in early March followed by a 4-5 week harvest
schedule. Both of the above experiments were cut 2 inches above the soil surface.
The Dekalb '185' alfalfa and 'San Gabriel' trefoil was harvested on a 4-5 week
schedule starting in mid March, but were cut at 3 inches above the soil. The
alfalfas at Immokalee were first harvested on 3-2-77 and all other legumes on
3-14-77. Subsequent harvests were made at 4-5 week intervals.
SFTE 503 = Iron 18.0%; Zinc 7.0%; Manganese 7.5%; Copper 3.0%; Boron 3.0% and
Results and Discussion
Dry matter yield at Ona.
Significant differences in dry matter production were obtained among winter
annual legumes (experiment A) at each harvest and total yield except harvest 5
(Table 1). Dry matter yields for harvest I ranged from a high of 1.37 T/A for
crimson clover to a low of 0.64 T/A for 'Vangard'alfalfa. The low initial harvest
for Vangard alfalfa may have been due to the low seeding rate (10 Ib/A).
Excellent seedling vigor was observed among many entries including: 'Apollo'
and Vangard alfalfa, 'Florie', 'Pennscott' and lime pelleted Pennscott red clover,
crimson and subterranean clover. Among the white claver varieties tested 'Arcadia'
demonstrated the best seedling vigor followed closely by 'Tillman' and 'Fla. FS-4'.
All varieties continued to produce well in the second harvest with the highest
yielder being Pennscstt red clever averaging 1.12 T/A in a 26 day growth period.
In harvest 3 (5-11-77) significant differences were again observed among the entries
with the red clovers and alfalfas contributing the highest yield. Dry matter
yields for many of the white clovers and subterranean clover appeared to decrease
at a more rapid pace than alfalfa or red clover. In fact, crimson clover was
already decimated at harvest 3.
Significant differences were again observed among the legume varieties at
harvest 4 (6-22-77). Alfalfa continued to be the highest producer averaging 1.22
and 1.14 T/A for Vangard and Apollo, respectively. Red and White clovers in
addition to 'Maitland' birdsfoot trefoil were producing quite well. This was unusual
because during most years winter annual legumes cease growth in late April or
The fifth and final harvest of the winter annual legumes (experiment A) was
removed on 7-22-77. Again the two alfalfa varieties were the highest yielders
averaging 0.64 T/A followed by the ladino clover varieties. The growth of La S-1
white clover had terminated.
Highest total seasonal yield was produced by Apollo and Vangard alfalfa,
with Apollo producing 0.60 T/A more than Vangard. Crimson clover and Trifolium
(PI 120136) were among the lowest yielders primarily because they did not persist.
The lime pelleting of legume seeds has been demonstrated to improve yields,
presumably by protecting Rhizobia bacteria inoculated on the seed coat. There
appeared to be no advantage due to lime pelleting Pennscott red clover. Total
yield with and without the lime pellet was 3.67 vs 3.96 T/A, respectively.
Forage production by the late seeded legumes, Dekalb 185 alfalfa and San
gabriel birdsfoot trefoil are reported in Table 2. Dekalb 1G5 alfalfa produced 0.9
r/A dry matter at harvest 1, which was removed about 90 days after seeding. This
alfalfa variety continued to average 0.9 T/A over 5 harvests producing a total of
4.4 T/A dry matter.
Forage production among the live-over clovers (experiment B) was not signifi-
cantly different (Table 3). Total dry matter yield ranged from a high of 3.6 T/A
for Nolins Improved to a low of 3.0 T/A for Fla. FS-5. The initial 1976-77
harvest was removed in mid-December (12-20-76) when Nolins Improved produced 1.0
T/A. Two important aspects brought out by this live-over study are: 1) the varieties
do not have to be re-established, resulting in a savings of time, labor and energy.
2) Legumes which live-over from one growing season to the next are ready for
grazing or harvesting approximately two months earlier than those seeded the same
year. This allows clovers to be available for utilization in late December, thus
allowing a more uniform forage production pattern.
ry matter yield Immokalee.
The alfalfa varieties had the best seedling vigor, and plots of these entries
could easily be observed among all other entries. The other species could be
ranked (greatest to least) on seedling vigor as follows: red, crimson, white, subter-
ranean, arrowleaf clovers and birdsfoot trefoil.
The alfalfa were fir L harvested 103 days after seeding. Plants were 20-24
inches tall and in full bud with some blossoms. All other entries except birdsfoot
trefoil were harvested the first time 115 days after seeding.
'Auburn' crimson clover and 'Vangard' alfalfa were the highest yielders in
harvest one with 1.40 and 1,18 T/A, respectively (Table 4). The experimental
nematode tolerant white clover was the lowest yielding (0.64 T/A).
At harvest 1 the alfalfa varieties averaged 1.10 T/A which was almost 0.3 T/A
more than the red and white clovers which both averaged 0.82 T/A.
At harvest 2 the alfalfas and red clovers yielded about the same. There were
no statistical differences among any of these entries. Alfalfa averaged 0.60 and
red clover averaged 0.63 T/A. 'Nolins' red clover appeared to be a very early
entry, as it was in full bloom at the 4-19 harvest. It also appears to be very
susceptible to powdery mildew. Stemphyllium leaf spot was a serious problem with
both alfalfas. It was considered to be detrimental to yield.
The arrowleaf clover stands were decimated befae harvest 2 (4-19-77). Crimson
clover yields were very poor (0.13 T/A) indicating that it too was dying out.
At harvest 3 (5-20) the alfalfa entries were still persisting well and
averaged 0.98 T/A.
Red clover stands were beginning to thin out at this time averaging 0.64 T/A
dry matter. The lowest yield was obtained at the final harvest of '1it Barker' sub-
terranean clover (0.32 T/A). The extremely slow establishing 'Dawn' birdsfoot
:refoil was harvested for the first time at the 5-20 harvest 182 days after
seeding. It yielded 0.55 T/A and was in 1/2 bloom.
The alfalfas and red clovers were affected with powdery mildew at harvest 3.
The alfalfas averaged 40% infection while the red clovers averaged 30% (Nolins 60%).
'Fla. 66' alfalfa was the highest yielding (1.04 T/A) entry at harvest 4
(6-28). Both alfalfas were in full bloom at this harvest. The red clovers with
an average yield of 0.34 T/A were harvested for the last time.
At 5th and 6th harvest (8-2 and 9-1, respectively) the alfalfas were the
only entries present. 'Fla. 66' was the highest yielding with 0.56 and 0.34 T/A,
When total yield is considered 'Fla. 66' alfalfa was statistically highest
with 4.81 T/A. 'Vangard'was second with 3.77 T/A. These legumes represent an
outstanding potential for south Florida.
The red clover averaged 2.43 T/A dry matter. Redland (2.62 T/A) appears to be
a promising new entry.
White clover entries averaged 1.75 T/A dry matter. 'Tillman' and the
experimental 'FS-4' were not significantly different yielding 1.91 and 1.94 T/A,
Excellent weed control was obtained by the application of Eptam. Winter
annual grasses and broad leaves were suppressed until the legumes were tall
enough to compete. Weed control was good through early January.
In late April the main well at Immokalee ran short of water. During the
interum period when a new well was being drilled the legumes experienced severe
drought stress. The deep rooted alfalfa showed little drought stress when compared
with the shallow rooted ladino clovers. Also, the 2 reps without Furadan showed
considerably more moisture stress than those reps with Furadan.
Again there appeared to be no advantage of pelleting red or white clover with
lime. Total yield of pelleted Pennscott red clover as compared with non-pelleted
red clover was 2.42 vs 2.46 T/A. Pelleted Tillman white clover yielded a total
of 2.04 T/A vs 1.91 T/A with the pellet.
Agronomic characteristics, Ona
Approximately 4 months after seeding, the initial harvest of winter annual
legumes was removed averaging 10 inches in height (Table 5). One reason for the
late initial harvest (3-2-77) may be due to the unusual cold winter. On January
18-20'temperatures dropped to lows of 19 to 20 F.. Regardless of these low temper-
atures no vegetative damage was observed on any legume variety. The alfalfa
varieties appear to be most persistent going into the hot summer period. However,
as summer rains approached and the soil became supersaturated the alfalfa plants
died. The red clover plants tend to weaken as the hot summer temperatures
approach, which ultimately result in death, even before the soil becomes super-
The white clover varieties (ladino type) appear to be quite persistent through-
out the summer period, when compared to La S-1 white clover. This is evidenced by
the number of live stolons recorded per 3 linear feet on 9-7-77. The ladino type
of clovers averaged about 13 live stolons as compared with 6 for La S-1. However,
if flooding occurs and ladino white clover remains under water for several days
plants will decimate. The ladino type white clovers generally remain vegetative
throughout the year with some flowers appearing in July and August. La S-1 white
clover flowers quite heavily from late March to early May after which plant persis-
tance and yield drops rapidly.
These data indicate that alfalfa and red clover can be grown and will produce
high yields of dry matter from March through June in south-central Florida.
To produce high yields of quality forage, proper variety selection, fertili-
zation and water control are of utmost importance.
Table 1. Average dry matter yields
at the ARC, Ona. 1976-77.
of winter annual legumes (experiment A) grown
Legume 1 2 3 4 5
Entry 3-2 3-28 5-11 6-22 7-22 Total
- Dry matter yield T/A - -
Apollo 1.19 ab! 1.09 ab 1.01 a 1.14 a 0.65 5.10 a
Vangard 0.64 c 1.04 a-c 1.02 a 1.22 a 0.62 4.54 a
Average 0.92 1.07 1.02 1.18 0.64 4.82
0. 9 bc
0.99 a-d 0.87 ab 0.79 bc
1.03 a-c 0.94 b-d 0.65 cd
bc 0.20 3.57 ab
bc 0.12 3.54 ab
-- 2.61 b
Mt. Barker 1.32 ab
0.97 a-d 0.67 b-d
0.96 a-d 0.71 b-d 0.82 b
0.99 a-d --
-- 2.95 ab
-- 2.37 b
IMeans within columns not followed
different. Duncan's LSD. K=100.
by the same letter are significantly
1 No statistical analysis was calculated on harvest.
Table 2. Dry matter yields and plant heights of a late seeded alfalfa
and birdsfoot trefoil variety grown at the ARC, Ona. 1976-77.
Legumes 1 2 3 4 5
Variety 3-14 4-13 5-11 6-22 7-22 Total
- Dry matter yield T/A- -
Dekalb .92 .80 .94 .99 .74 4.4
Plant ht. (in.)
Table 3. Average dry matter yields of winter annual legumes (experiment B)
grown at the ARC, Ona. 1976-77.
White clover 1 2 3 4 5
Varieties 12-20-76 3-2-77 3-28-77 5-9-77 6-23-77 Total
- Dry matter T/A- - -
Nolins Improved 1.01+ 0.61 1.04 0.51 0.40 3.58
Fla FS-4 0.72 0.81 1.03 0.56 0.44 3.55
La S-1 0.87 0.66 1.02 0.45 0.39 3.39
Fla FS-6 0.73 0.59 1.04 0.52 0.50 3.37
Tillman 0.52 0.52 0.95 0.54 0.48 3.01
Fla FS-5 0.50 0.51 0.96 0.53 0.44 2.95
% Dry matter 20.4 14.2 17.0 13.0' 19.5
No significant differences were observed between means. Duncans LSD. K=100.
Table 4. Average dry matter yield of 18 winter annual legume species and/or
varieties grown at ARC. Immokalee. 1976-77.
1 2 3 4 5 6
Legumes ____ _3/14 4/19 5/20 6/28 8/2 9/1 Total
Florida 66 1.02 b-d 0.77 a 1.08 a 1.04 a 0.56 a 0.34 a 4.81 a
Vangard 1.18 ab 0.43 a-f 0.87 ab 0.80 0.35 b 0.14 b 3:77.b
Average 1.10 0.60 0.98 0.92 0.45 0.,24 4.29
Pennscott 0.83 d-g 0.65 abc 0.65 b-e 0.33 cde --- 2.46 cd
Pennscott 2.42 cde
oPenscott 0.73 o-- 0.70 ab 0.70 bcd 0.29 cde 2.42 cde
Kenstar 0.76 e-g 0.r7 .,ol 0.70 bcd 0.37 cd -- -- 2.50 cd
Nolins 1.09 be 0.60 a-d 0.50 d-g -- -- -- 2.19 c-f
Redland (NAPB) 0.91 c-f 0.69 ab 0.56 c-f 0.46 c -- -- 2.62 c
Redmore 0.69 fg 0.62 abc 0.62 cde 0.27 de -- -- 2.20 c-f
Florie (TK) 0.76 d-L_ 0.50 a-e 0.77 bc -- -- 2.03 d-
Avera0ge 0.82 0.__ 63 ( 0.64 0.34. 2.43 -.
FS-4 0.78 d-g 0.33 c-f 0.43 e-g 0.40 cd -- 1.94 e-h
Tillman 0.96 b-e 0.28 d-f 0.49 d-g 0.18 e -- 1.91 f-h
Tillman 0.90 c-f 0.22 ef 0.56 c-f 0.36 c-e 2.04 d-g
Nematode ^12 jk
Nematode 0.64 g 0.14 f 0.34 fg -- -- -- 1.12 jk
Average 60.82 0.24 0.46 0.31 1.75
Meechee 0.72 e-g -- -- -- 0.72 k
Yuchi 1.13 bc -... -- -- -- 1.3.
Average 0.93 __0.93
Dawn Birdsfoot -- -- 0.55 c-g 0.77 b 1.32 ij
clover 1.40 a 0.13 f -- -- -- -- 1.53 h-j
Subterranean clover 0.95 b-f 0.37 b-f 0.32 g -- 1.64 h-i
i eans followed by the same letter are not significantly different.
Duncan's LSD. K-100.
Table 5. Agronomic characteristics of winter annual legumes (experiment A) grown at the ARC, Ona. 1976-77,
ht. Stage no.
10 V 10 V
7 -- -- D
Mt. Barker 10 V 10 V
Maitland -- V 9 V
Auburn _12 V 13 F
+ Physiological stage at harvest: V=vegetative;
4 Physiological condition of plants on 6-22-77:
D -- D
B-bud; F=flower; L=dead.
D -- -
E=excellent; G=good; D=dead.
Number of live stolons/3 linear feet on 9-7-77.
Physiolog-ical stage not recorded for harvest 3 (5-11-77).
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