Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Discuss grasses and how to grow and harvest them.
Stocker Steve
GURU
GURU
Posts: 7935
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 8:28 am
Location: Central Minnesota

Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:46 pm

I have some run down rented ground that I seeded down with a mix. The legume part of the mix included clover, alfalfa, and birds foot trefoil. Now 4 years later the clover and alfalfa are diminishing as you would expect, the BFT is increasing. I have never had this happen before. The only thing I can think of is that this land has marginal drainage and is only hayed once some years. Is this extra long rest period what is required for BFT to thrive?
0 x
Stocker Steve

User avatar
Jeanne - Simme Valley
GURU
GURU
Posts: 8965
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:46 am
Location: Central Upstate New York
Contact:

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:40 pm

Hubby planted some BFT many, many years ago. I still have it throughout my farm - in pastures that it was NOT planted in. Cattle have spread it. Never very thick, but it's there.
BFT is a great plant for grazing because it is lush even if it blooms, just keeps growing - but, IDT it will hold up to heavy pressure with continuous grazing. I rotational graze.
0 x
Simme Valley of New York - http://www.SimmeValley.com
"We make a living by what we get,
we make a life by what we give."

User avatar
Aaron
GURU
GURU
Posts: 4303
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 11:09 pm
Location: Stratton, ON, Canada
Contact:

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Aaron » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:31 pm

Letting it set seed every few years and only taking one cutting is the key to BFT success.
0 x
Nothin' prettier than a red Ford truck, a Massey Ferguson tractor and a red-n-white Hereford sittin' on the farm.

User avatar
Jeanne - Simme Valley
GURU
GURU
Posts: 8965
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:46 am
Location: Central Upstate New York
Contact:

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:41 pm

The thing with BFT, it flowers when it is real small, each flower makes seeds, the plant keeps growing & making flowers & making seeds. Normally, when a plant gets to the seed stage, it quits growing, but BFT keeps growing. So, my fields may be 30-40 days between grazing, so it sets seeds on the lower end of the plant - reseeding my pastures. that's why I said, it cannot handle continuous grazing. It would never have a chance to reseed. Not a long life expectancy on the actual plant.
0 x
Simme Valley of New York - http://www.SimmeValley.com
"We make a living by what we get,
we make a life by what we give."

Stocker Steve
GURU
GURU
Posts: 7935
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 8:28 am
Location: Central Minnesota

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:18 pm

I did not know BFT sets seed at the bottom of the plant first. I tried BFT w/ 21 day MIG rest periods and it was gone in a couple years. I don't think it even bloomed in most cases.

I can see that BFT likes one cutting per year in a hay setting, and in this case it competes with or beats branch root alfalfa, but when is a one cut system economical compared to a more typical two cutting system?
0 x
Stocker Steve

User avatar
Jeanne - Simme Valley
GURU
GURU
Posts: 8965
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:46 am
Location: Central Upstate New York
Contact:

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:38 pm

I would think it would survive in a 2-cut hay field.
My paddocks get grazed maybe 4 (or more) times each summer. Sorry, I am speculating, going by what I see. Hubby was the Horticulturist in the family.
0 x
Simme Valley of New York - http://www.SimmeValley.com
"We make a living by what we get,
we make a life by what we give."

User avatar
Silver
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 710
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 12:08 am
Location: BC

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Silver » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:17 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:I can see that BFT likes one cutting per year in a hay setting, and in this case it competes with or beats branch root alfalfa, but when is a one cut system economical compared to a more typical two cutting system?


When you live in a country like I do you need to learn to be quite happy with only one cutting. :nod:
1 x

Stocker Steve
GURU
GURU
Posts: 7935
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 8:28 am
Location: Central Minnesota

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:58 pm

I was on a 5 grazings per summer schedule.
I am going tall at about 3 grazings per summer now. Still not BFT worthy.
So BFT would seem to be a special situation legume for marginally drained hay ground.
0 x
Stocker Steve

chevytaHOE5674
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 514
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:40 pm
Location: Western UP, Mi

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby chevytaHOE5674 » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:00 am

Few years back implanted BFT in a hay mix, for the first 2 or 3 years it was marginal at best. Last summer was cool and very wet here and that field was 99% pure BFT come July when it got cut. All of our fields are a one cut situation so I'm not sure how it would do being cut multiple times.
0 x

User avatar
Silver
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 710
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 12:08 am
Location: BC

Re: Birdsfoot Sustainability ?

Postby Silver » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:03 pm

Not BFT but similar... I have a pasture high along a ridge. Soil is poor and thin, lots of rocks. First place to dry out completely and brown off. Cows tend to over graze it even while the bush grass is lush. One part of it hasn't been reworked since it was originally cleared and planted in 1985, and I've noticed over the last ten years or so that the yellow flowered alfalfa is actually steadily increasing it's population. It's pretty impressive to say the least. Next time I try to rejuvenate more of that type of pasture I will attempt to track down some of that seed.
1 x


Return to “Grasses, Pastures and Hay”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot], Lucasbranham and 4 guests