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Berseem Clover (Trifolium alexandrium)

Plant Characteristics: Winter annual legume with oblong non-hairy leaflets and hollow stems. It resembles alfalfa with the exception of having small seed heads with white flowers.

Establishment: Berseem grows well in the central and southern part of the state since most varieties are not winter-hardy. Tolerant to wet and alkaline soils of the Black Belt. Planting from August 25 to October 15 can be achieved by broadcasting at a rate of 20 lb/ac or drilling at rate of 10 to 15 lb/ac. Cross pollination is accomplished by honey bees. Crown rot could be a problem under high forage accumulation. Seeding rates of 12 lb/ac should be used when planting with cool-season grass mixtures.

Fertilization: Low tolerance to acidity and recommended pH above 6. Requires high P, K, and B fertilization.

Grazing/Hay Management: Berseem clover can be used for pasture or hay production. Grazing (rotational preferred) should start at 8 to 10 inches and 3-inch stubble should be maintained. There is a short grazing season from November to December and March from June. Yields of 2 to 2.5 tons/ac can be expected for the first cutting with good growing conditions with reduced yields in subsequent cuttings.

Forage Quality: High quality with very low bloating potential. Berseem forage contains 18 to 23% crude protein, ADF 23 to 37%, and TDN 56 to 71%.

Varieties/Cultivars: Bigbee and Tibbee.

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Portrait of Dr. Rocky Lemus
Extension/Research Professor
Forage Establishment, Grazing Systems and Management, Hay Production, Forage Fertility, Forage Quali