Mixing clover with alfalfa
Food Plots
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Messages posted to thread:
firemen 30-Jul-22
Pat Lefemine 30-Jul-22
dm/wolfskin 30-Jul-22
pav 30-Jul-22
Catscratch 30-Jul-22
Pat Lefemine 30-Jul-22
BullBuster 01-Aug-22
Catscratch 01-Aug-22
Starfire 01-Aug-22
Bow Crazy 02-Aug-22
Mark Watkins 28-Mar-23
Pat Lefemine 29-Mar-23
Osceola 29-Mar-23
Pat Lefemine 29-Mar-23
Stressless 29-Mar-23
Pat Lefemine 29-Mar-23
sureshot 29-Mar-23
t-roy 30-Mar-23


What are your thoughts on Mixing clover and alfalfa together for a new food plot?


I think they are very compatible and I just planted a 50/50 alfalfa/clover plot in Ohio


Just don't let them go into full bloom in the Spring and Summer. Keep them cut.

By: pav

Tried converting two ladino clover plots into ladino clover/alfalfa plots in the spring of 2021. Today, both plots are 80%+ clover...very little alfalfa survived. Assumed if one legume would dominate the other...it would be alfalfa. Assumed wrong...


I mix red clover, white clover, alfalfa, and. chicory in a lot of my plots. Depending on what your conditions are one will eventually win out. Until then the mix is adapted to many situations; when it's hot and dry and the clover is drying down... the alfalfa and chicory is excelling. Etc.


Clover will always win over alfalfa. Deer will browse the alfalfa at far higher rates than clover.


Agree. Clover always takes over the alfalfa in my plot experience, unfortunately. I’ve even had pure alfalfa stands next to clover and the clover spread into it and soon dominated.


I imagine weather patterns, soil composition, and browse pressure all factor in quite a bit. I was in a 7 yr old plot this weekend. After several weeks of 100+ degree temps and no moisture the clovers are pretty dried down. Low and behold there is a significant amount of alfalfa blooming and looking great compared to everything else. Didn't notice it earlier in the summer when the clover was strong but given the opportunity it's shining. Deer are still using the plot so I'm content.


My uncle always called alfalfa a type of clover when he was a dairy farmer so I would think you could blend it like any other mixture of clovers. My understanding is alfalfa makes better hay bails because it likes to be mowed and has higher protien and dries better. clover is better for grazing since it does not need to be mowed as often. Alfalfa is more drought tolerant and likes sandier soils than clover which likes more of a loam and likes more moisture.


I used a 3-way mix of clover, alfalfa and chicory. The deer love really like it a lot. for the past three springs I've frost seed a mix of 3 forbs into the plot. What I really noticed this year is that the forbs have taken over the plot. There is some clover, but not a lot, the chicory is still going good. The deer still seem to really like it. It will be interesting to see this fall how they like it. We have ag alfalfa around us and the deer love it up until it's covered with snow. BC


I now plant my clover plots (may have 20% alfalfa seed as well) and my alfalfa (only) plots as two separate plots.

The clover will overtake the alfalfa if planted side by side.



I absolutely love Alfalfa because deer love it. They will walk through 5 clover plots without stopping to eat alfalfa. I have done all sorts of blended ratios, pure stands, different varieties including Roundup Ready Alfalfa, etc.

After 20 years of planting alfalfa I've basically thrown in the towel on multi-year/perennial pure stand alfalfa plots. It's just too much work for me between spraying, clipping, and fertilizing. And I still get weed invasion, tissue damage, micronutrient issues, etc. These days, I just throw a little alfalfa into my clover plots and forget about it. If I'm gonna spend that much effort tending to a plot, I'd just assume plant an annual which is far cheaper and easier to establish.

My hats' off to any plotter that can consistently grow a perennial alfalfa plot. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.

My 2c.


Slightly off topic, but I am going to plant a 3 acre plot to alfalfa this spring. I am worried about deer numbers hammering it before it can get established.

I have never used a nurse crop. I have a lighter sandy loan soil makeup. Anyone have experience with adding oats as a nurse crop to alfalfa? I was going to drill 50 lbs oats and 20 lbs alfalfa per acre in one pass using the drill's large and small seed boxes at the same time. I am going to spray/kill the oats before it begins to shade the clover or after it got a foot or so tall.

Good idea or bad?


My opinion; good idea but bad timing. If you were doing the planting in the fall you’re nurse crop would die out leaving the established alfalfa which would come back better the following year.

Doing oats in the spring will create really thick and tall stand of grains which will likely crowd out the small alfalfa and potentially go to seed.

Wait until fall to use grains or use a less invasive nurse crop such as an annual clover like crimson.


Depending on soil Birdfoot Trefoil might be a better legume then Alfalfa with Clover.


Stressless, have you ever planted it? I used Trefoil on my NY ground for 3 years. Deer never touched it. It did establish well and was quite hardy. I burned it down and won't ever plant it again based on those 3 year results.


Osceola, alot of farmers in my area use oats as a nurse crop with spring planted alfalfa for weed suppression. If you are planting early spring it works quite well and you can spray it and kill it, farmers often mow the oats and bale them. 50# of oats per acre at seeding will be pretty light and you shouldn't have any problems with it affecting the alfalfa stand.

By: t-roy

I’m going to rent out 10-12 acres of marginal farm ground (field edges near the timber) to a local farmer, who is going to put it into alfalfa, this spring, and he’s going to use oats as a nurse crop. I have never planted alfalfa specifically for a food plot, because of the difficulty of maintaining it, so I’ll get to see how attractive it actually is on this farm without having to take care of it myself. One downside is, that it will most likely spread the deer out over a much larger area than just on my other plots. Hopefully the positives far outweigh any negatives.

My master plan is to eventually get these acres to where they will meet eligibility requirements to enroll them into a CRP program. I’m going into year three of that plan, with hopefully only another couple of years to go (depending on what’s in the next farm bill) before it meets the requirements.

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