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Agricultural Research Center, Ona ~- *
Research Report RC-1976-8 UilV LIBRAPy September 1976
WINTER ANNUAL LEGUME PRODUCTION IN SOUTH ETiA"i iWIDA, 1 75-76.
P. Mislevy, R. S. Kalmbacher, C. LFd6j 4a% iB, I.F y 1/
Winter-annual legumes (red, white, crimson, and arrowleaf clovers) can
provide a source of high-quality forage to Florida livestock. Forage production
from these clovers is generally available during the time of year when permanent
pastures are contributing very little. Production can begin in January and con-
tinue through May depending on plant species. These legumes may be rotationally
grazed, harvested as green chop, or made into hay. Red, crimson, and arrowleaf
clovers are upright, bunchtype plants that can attain a height of 12 to 18 inches.
These species are well adapted for hay which would be made during the dry months
of March, April or May.
White clover is a strongly stolonifertus species, generally attaining a
height of 6-10 inches depending on variety. Its prostrate habit of growth
makes this plant most adapted to grazing.-
Regardless of intended use, the production of high yielding, quality clover-
forage depends on the selection of proper varieties, followed by good fertiliza-
tion practices and proper water control.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate winter-annual legumes for forage
production and persistence in South Central Florida.
Three legume studies were conducted during the 1975-76 growing season. Two
studies at the Agricultural Research Center (ARC), Ona and one at the ARC,
The two experiments conducted at the ARC, Ona were as follows: experiment A,
winter annual legume study (seeded November 7, 1975) and experiment B, winter
annual legume (live-over) study (seeded November 8, 1974). The winter annual
legume experiment in Immokalee was seeded November 25, 1975. Throughout this
paper the studies will be referred to as experiment A, experiment B, and Immokalee
I/ Assistant Professors, Agricultural Research Center, Ona; Professor Department
of Agronomy, Gainsville; and Professor, Agricultural Research Center,
The field-plot design of experiment A, and the Immokalee experiment was a
randomized complete block with four replications. Experiment B was conducted
the same way, but was replicated three times.
Seeding rates of experiment A and the Immokalee experiment were as follows:
red clover and arrowleaf clover 8 lb/A, white clover 4 Ib/A, and crimson clover
20 lb/A. Seeding rates, fertilization practices and forage production for exper-
iment B are recorded in ARC, Research Report RC-1975-8. Following seeding, the
above two experiments were double cultipacked to obtain good seed-to-soil
Experiment A and the Immokalee experiment were irrigated immediately following
seeding with overhead and seepage irrigation, respectively. A total of 10.0
inches of irrigation water was applied on both experiments A and B, starting in
mid-November and terminating in early May. At Immokalee, clovers were watered
Fertilization practices at Ona were as follows. Experiment A received/
0-70-140 Ib/A of N-P205-K20 plus 28 Ib/A of fritted micronutrients FTE 503-
at seeding. Experiment B received 0-50-100 lb/A in late December. The Immokalee
experiment had 430 Ib of 0-10-20 plus 17 lb FTE 503 applied per acre. Addition-
ally, 300 lb of 0-10-20 and 10 Ib of FTE were applied to the harvested plots on
March 31. Calcium and magnesium content in all experiments was adequate.
Experiments A and B were harvested when the forage attained a height of
6 to 15 inches, depending on plant species. White clovers were generally
harvested when plants ranged from 6 to 9 inches, whereas arrowleaf, crimson and
red clover plants ranged from 8 to 15 inches at harvest. During the 1975-76
growing season experiment A was cut to a 2 inch stubble, whereas experiment B
was clipped at a 3 inch stubble.
Red clovers at Immokalee were harvested when they were 9 to 14 inches tall.
Plants were entirely vegetative at harvest 1 (March 5,). 'Tensas' was in the
bud stage at harvest 2 (March 31). At harvest 3 (May 18) 'Pennscott' had k
bloom, 'Kenstar' had 1/10 bloom and 'Tensas'was at the full bud stage. At the
fourth and final harvest (June 22) all red clovers were 1/2 bloom stage. The
white clovers, arrowleaf clovers, and Trifolium meneghinianum had not flowered
by March 5, but FS-4 and T. meneghtnianum had 1/10 bloom on March 31. These
clovers were harvested when they were 5 to 9 inches tall. All clovers were
harvested, back to a 3" stubble.
2/ FTE 503 micronutrients contain the following elemental content: Iron 18.0%;
Zinc 7.0%; Manganese 7.5%; Boron 3.0%; Copper 3.0% and Molybdenum 0.2%.
Results and Disussion
ry matter yield at Ona: Significant differences in dry matter production
were observed among clover varieties (experiment A) at each harvest; and total
yield except harvest 2 (Table 1). Dry matter production at harvest 1 ranged
from a high of 0.8 tons per acre for 'Pennscott' and 'Tensas' red clover to a
low of 0.3 tons per acre for 'La.S-1' white clover and 'Dixie' crimson clover.
Most red clovers had good seedling vigor and had the ability to produce forage
rapidly following seeding. Red clover varieties continued to produce well in the
second harvest (3-19), however, all other varieties ..-proaced well, "thus
there were no significant differences among varieties.
Significant differences were again observed among varieties at harvest 3
(4-29) with 'Pennscott' red clover producing the highest yield. After the March
harvest, both 'Meechae' and 'Yuchi' arrowleaf and crimson clovers died. Crimson
clover traditionally has done quite poorly in south-central Florida variety
Significant differences were observed among clover varieties at harvest 4
(6-22) with red clovers yielding highest. White clovers were all producing well
at this time with the exception of 'La. S-1'. In spite of adequate soil moisture,
production of this -variety decreased very rapidly after it flowered in. late
March and April.
The fifth and final harvest of winter annual legumes (experiment A) was
removed on 8-5-76 and there were significant differences between variety yields.
At this late-season harvest, three experimental white clovers (ladino or giant form
of white clover) averaged 0.9 tons per acre dry matter. This was significantly
more forage than that produced by the red clover varieties or 'La. S-1' white
clover, both of which were nearly dead,
Highest total seasonal yield was produced by 'Kenstar' red clever, which
averaged 4.6 tons of dry matter per acre. This was followed closely by 'Pennscott'
red clover which averaged 4.4 tons per acre. The two arrowleaf clovers and crimson
clover produced the lowest yields. This was mainly due to loss of stand after
the March harvest. All white clovers except 'La. S-1' are ladino type white
clovers. These ladino-type clovers produced 1.0 to 1.4 tons more dry matter per
acre than 'La. S-1'.
Forage production among the winter annual live-over clovers (experiment-B)
?as not significant (Table 2). Total dry matter yield ranged from 4.3 tons per
acre for'Tillman' down to 3.7 tons per acre for 'F.S.-4' and 'F.S.-5'. Two
important aspects brought out by this live-over study are: 1) the varieties do
iot 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 in late December. The rapid
development of plants in the fall, starts the grazing season earlier, thus
allowing a more uniform forage production pattern.
Dry matter yield at Immokalee: Clovers at Immokalee were slower in establish-
ing than those at Ona. Only the red and arrowleaf clovers had produced a suf-
ficient amount of herbage for sampling at March 3. None of these yields were
significantly different (Table 3).
On March 31, all 12 clovers were harvested. There were no significant
differences in dry matter yield among the varieties. Stands were quite variable
among (and within) plots of the same variety. It is uncertain why some plants
within a plot are large and vigorous, while others are small and slow growing.
The 300 lb. of 0-10-20 with 10 lb. FTE 503 applied on March 31 did not appear to
stimulate the impoverished plants.
The red clovers were the best yielding clovers at harvest 2 (3-31).
These species established quickly and uniformly. The experimental Trifalium
meneghinianum produced excellent stands in some plots. This clover is very
upright, with large glabrous leaves without white marks. The species had
tillered profusely by the March 31 harvest, producing thick succulent stems.
There were also long petioled leaves. Total height at harvest 2 was 15 to
16 inches. After harvesting very few apical meristems remained. There were
no axillary buds seen developing. Following the March 31 harvest, stands of
this species were decimated, but with proper management it may have promise.
At harvest 3 (May 18) 'Kenstar' and 'Pennscott' produced the highest
dry matter yield, 1.5 and 1.4 T/A, respectively (Table 3). The arrowleaf
clovers were still prFducnn. fairly well with 0.5 and 0.4 T/A. The white
clovers with the exceptions of'La.S-l' and 'F.S.-5' were out of production by
By June 22 (harvest 4) only the 3 red clovers were still producing.
There was no significant difference among varieties which averaged 0.5 T/A.
'Pennscott', 'Kenstar' and 'Tensas' red clover produced the most total
dry matter. Their respective yields were 3.4, 3.0, and 2.9 T/A. The
arrowleaf clovers, 'Meechae' and 'Yuchi',were also early and rather consistent
producers. Their yields were 1.6 and 1.4 T/A, respectively. 'La.S-1' white
and 'F.S.-5' were the best producing white clovers, each yielding 0.9.J/1A.
Stolon counts and percent ground cover: Wide variations existed between
stolon number and percentage ground cover from white clover varieties in late
July of 1976 (Table 4). 'F.S.-4' and 'F.S.-6' (ladino type clover) averaged
27.5 and 94% viable stolons and percentage ground cover, respectively
(experiment A). This would be approximately 175% more viable stolons than,
'La.S-1' and 109% more ground cover than,. 'La.S-1'. A similar pattern was
observed in experiment B, with the ladino type clovers containing many more
viable stolons and a higher percentage of legume ground cover. These data
indicate that the ladino-type clovers may be better adapted than 'La.S-1'
white clover for living-over the summer.
Forage quality: In vitro organic matter digestion (IVOMD) from composite
replications of the same variety are shown in table 5. IVOMD is an estimate
of total digestible nutrients (TDN). The white clovers were highest in IVOMD
as would be expected.since harvested forage is exclusively leaves and petioles.
Additionally, average values for the white clovers were higher than those
for the red clovers.
The red clovers averaged lowest in IVOMD, ranging from 67.2 to 65.6%. In
spite of their lower IVOMD values, the red clovers still were able to produce
more TDN/acre than many other species. Red clover quality was fairly consis-
tent through the growing season.
There were definite differences in the production of winter annual legumes
between and within locations. Red clover, with its good seedling vigor and
rapid establishment produced forage early in the season and continued pro-
ducing until late May. White clover had low seedling vigor, established
more slowly, and could provide forage longer into the growing season. To
obtain maximum forage production, adapted varieties, water control, good
fertility and superior management are required.
Table 1. Forage production of winter annual legume,varieties (experiment A) grown
at the ARC. Ona, 1975-76.
F.S.-4 white ]
F.S.-ll white ]
F.S.-6 white ]
LI. -VI IP
1.2. : .2/3 4.. 2
4/i9017Ai r- --Qi-O k/TfO t,1/76/
- .- Dry matter T/A* -
Means within columns followed by the same letters are not significantly different
at the 0.05 level according to Dunca1'sMultiple Range Test.
E = Experimental variety: seed not available.
Table 2. Forage production of 1974-75 live-over white clover varieties
(experiment B) grown at the ARC Ona, 1975-76.
1 2 3 4
12/22/75 1/29/76 2/2/76 3/19/76
- ----- Drymatter
0.5 0.5 0.6 0.4
0.5 0.4 0.6 0.4
0.4 0.4 0.6 0.4
0.3 0.& 0.6 0.4
0.5 0.4 0.6 0.4
Means within total yield column were not significantly
level according to Duncan s Multiple Range Test.
SE = Experimental variety: seed not available.
different at the 0.05
Table 3. Average dry matter yields of 12 winter annual legume species
and/or varieties grown at ARC Immokalee, 1975-76.
F.S.-11 white **
F.S.-6 white **
F.S.-4 white **
- - Tons/acre*
Means within columns followed
cantly different (K=100(Pi0.05):
by the same letter are not
Duncan's least significant
Experimental variety: seed not available.
t legume entries not harvested as they were late in establishment or
stands died out early.
-- ~----`------ ---------------------
Table 4.. Stolon number and estimated percentage ground cover
.r of white clover varieties in late July; 1976.
No./3 linear ft.
- -% -
E = experimental variety: seed not available.
Table 5. Percent in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD) in 12
winter annual legume species and/or varieties grown at the ARC,
Clover 1 .2 3 4 Average
variety 3/5/76 3/31/76 5/18/76 6/22/76
F. S.-6 white clover ** 80.3 ** ** 80.3
F. S.-4 white clover'* ** 79.6 ** ** 79.6
F. S.-11 white clover ** 79.5 ** ** 79.5
Trifolium meneghinianum* ** 79.4 ** ** 79.4
Regal white clover ** 78.8 ** ** 78.8
F. S.-5 white clover ** 80.6 76.7 ** 78.7
Yuchi arrowleaf 77.7 78.6 70.6 ** 75.6
La.S-1 white clover ** 77.4 71.7 ** 74.6
Meechae arrowleaf 76.2 75.9 70.8 ** 74.3
Kenstar red clover ** 69.6 67.4 66.5 67.8
Pennscott red clover 65.6 69.8 66.5 66.9 67.2
Tensas red clover 58.8 71.4 67.9 64.3 65.6
* Experimental entry- not released.
Legume entries not harvested as they were late in establishment or
stands died out early.