What produces a high protein forage on marginal or poor soils in July and August? What tolerates hot - dry weather, low pH soils, and does not cause bloat? What makes ‘great calf or horse hay' and put pounds on calves in August... “ Like you were feeding them corn?” It's nothing new – it's called common lespedeza.
Few forage legumes have had greater impact in this region or played a more important role in ‘grass farming' during the past century than common lespedeza. Its reputation for providing summer grazing and hay goes back years before tall fescue, and it still ranks high as a great companion forage—especially in years when drought is a problem.. Lespedeza continues to be on the ‘come-back' in recent years, especially with the increased costs of commercial fertilizers. The newest common lespedeza - ‘Legend' continues to be the dominant producer.
Legend has been tried and tested on farms and research projects for over 10 years. Last year it was planted in 22 states. Missouri Soil and Conservation's 2008 State Grass Land Farmer of the Year, Ron Locke, says “I was probably the first producer in Dallas County, Missouri to try Legend Lespedeza. I remember that particular year I was extremely impressed with it,” Locke went on to explain, “I'm a “show-me' guy. I bought 50 pounds and sowed it. I was absolutely astonished. I was so impressed, I had the university come out and see it. The next year I incorporated it into my grazing paddocks.”
In contrast to older types, ‘Legend' holds its dark green color and much denser leaf mass remarkably well throughout this year's extended drought and high temperatures. The growth of this new lespedeza as measured in height and dry matter, even during severely dry seasons, has been very impressive. In most cases the yield advantage is 30-35 percent over all other types and varieties. More importantly, this new lespedeza exhibits a definite advantage in drought tolerance.
Seed supplies are limited. For more information on ‘Legend' call 800-753-6511.
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