When clover seed is sown in nurse crops that are matured

before being harvested, the pasturing of the stand secured the autumn

following is usually to be avoided. Removing the covering which the

plants have provided for themselves is against their passing through the

winter in the best form. In some instances the injury proves so serious

as to result in a loss of all, or nearly all, the plants. The colder the

winters, the less the normal snowfall and the more the deficiency of

moisture, the greater is the hazard. But in some instances so great is

the growth of the clover plants that not to graze them down in part at

least would incur the danger of smothering many of the plants,

especially in regions where the snowfall is at all considerable.

But when the seed is sown alone or in mixtures of grain and even of

other grasses in the spring, grazing the same season will have the

effect of strengthening the plants. This result is due chiefly to the

removal of the shade that weeds and other plants would furnish were

they not thus eaten down, but it is also due in part to the larger share

of soil moisture that is thus left for the clover plants. Pasturing

clover sown thus should be avoided when the ground is so wet as to poach

or become impact in consequence. Unless on light, spongy soils which

readily lose their moisture, such grazing should not begin until the

plants have made considerable growth, nor should it be too close, or

root development in the pastures will be hindered.

It would not be possible to fix the stage of growth when the grazing

should begin on clover fields kept for pasture subsequent to the season

of sowing. The largest amount of food would be furnished if grazing were

deferred until the blossoming stage were reached and the crop were then

grazed down quickly. But this is not usually practicable, hence the

grazing usually begins at a period considerably earlier. In general,

however, the plants should not be grazed down very closely, or growth

will be more or less hindered.

Grazing clover in the spring and somewhat closely for several weeks

after growth begins, has been thought conducive to abundant seed

production. This result is due probably to the greater increase in the

seed heads that follow such grazing. This would seem to explain why

clover that has been judiciously grazed produces even more seed than

that clipped off by the mower after it has begun to grow freely.

In nearly all localities the grazing of medium red clover, and even of

mammoth clover, somewhat closely in the autumn of the second year, is to

be practised rather than avoided. These two varieties being essentially

biennial in their habit of growth will not usually survive the second

winter, even though not grazed, hence not to graze them would result in

a loss of the pasture.

With nearly all kinds of clover there is some danger from bloat in

grazing them with cattle or sheep while yet quite succulent, and the

danger is intensified when the animals are turned in to graze with empty

stomachs or when the clover is wet with dew or rain. When such bloating

occurs, for the method of procedure see page 95. The danger that bloat

will be produced is lessened in proportion as other grasses abound in

the pastures.

Miscellaneous Varieties Of Clover Pasturing facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail