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Black Medic (Medicago lupulina)

Plant Characteristics: Winter annual with stems growing close to the ground and hairy, heart-shaped leaflets with toothed margins. Yellow flowers with coiled seed pods.

Establishment: Climate condition in Mississippi are favorable for black medic establishment but seed is not readily available. Planting date is from September 1 to October 10 at a rate of 10 to 12 lb/ac.

Fertilization: Grows well from moderate acid to calcareous soils. A nitrogen/phosphorus ratio of 2:1 is recommended where black medic has become established. Follow soil test recommendations for fertilizer applications.

Grazing/Hay Management: Black medic is used for pasture management. Low yields are usually produced from April to early May. Forage yields range from 1 to 1.5 tons/ac.

Forage Quality: Black medic is palatable to livestock and has fair forage value with protein contents ranging from 8 to 12%. However, because black medic is an annual, it is not a good source of pasture forage. It can cause bloat if over-consumed.

Varieties/Cultivars: No cultivars have been developed for the South since most black medic is volunteer.

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