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LEGUMES

Introduction

by Larry Hawkins

Legumes are as close to being an essential part of a forage program as any other crop. Legumes fix nitrogen from the atmosphere to provide for their own needs (after initial growth) and also provide nitrogen for both companion crops like cool season grasses and for the next corn crop. In the forage, this nitrogen becomes crude protein for livestock. Byron selects legumes from five legume breeding companies each with their own breeding philosophies and strengths. We have a hybrid (MS Sunstra®) which is the top yielder in the current three-year UW trials over all comers including all of the other (sister) hybrids. We have rapid regrowth varieties (Stand-Fast®) for quick cutting rotations. Also, we have several branch-rooted varieties with their fine stemmed, high leaf ratios and their ability to withstand high traffic and "wet feet." And we have standard deep-tap root varieties that can excel on hilly and drier areas. Kingfisher Alfalfas have always done well at the World Dairy Expo Forage Analysis super Bowl including the Champion Haylage in 2011.

By offering these different alfalfas we can do one other thing that breeding companies won't do and even cringe to consider it and that is to blend excellent alfalfas from divergent breeding philosophies and reap the synergies. Ask your local Byron dealer about which combination may be best for your situation.

Kingfisher clovers are another area where we supply the best improved Red and White Clovers available anywhere, including one which can be easily dried for dry baling. We many times recommend several pounds of Red Clover in your alfalfa mix (and don't forget the cool season grass!) because of the superior protein quality of Red Clover. Clover has twice the bypass protein in its protein profile as does alfalfa. This has led the GMO people to attempt to add a clover gene to alfalfa to gain bypass protein as the next step after Round-Up Ready®. Why not get it naturally? The bonus is that clover will add NDF-d to your haylage, also.

Byron also has tall, large-leafed White Clovers for your pasture needs.