Alfalfa is often referred to as the “Queen of Forages” because it produces high yields that are highly digestible and high in protein. Alfalfa can be effectively utilized in managed grazing, hay, green chop or silage systems.
Rape, also called colpa, colsa, colerape, tori, and chou oleifere, is a cool-season annual plant similar to turnip and rutabaga. Rape originated in northern Europe and was cultivated in the Mediterranean area. Dwarf Essex Rape produces an excellent economical fall and winter food plot. Planted at 5-15 lbs. per acre Rape is great for plowed-ground forage for wildlife or livestock. Rape can also be overseeded in existing spring and summer food plots as they begin to decline in the early fall. Rape can be harvested or grazed every 30 days following a 75 day establishment period. Forage produced can contain 18-20% crude protein. Good cold tolerance make harvesting or grazing late into the fall and winter an option.
Also known as "broadleaf birdsfoot trefoil," this long-lived, deep-rooted perennial forage legume is used for pasture, hay and silage. It grows on many different soil types, from sandy loams to clays. It accepts poorly-drained, droughty, infertile, acid or mildly alkaline soils. Most productive on fertile, well-drained soils with a pH of 6.2-6.5 or higher.
The nutritive value equals that of alfalfa, and there is no apparent problem from bloat, even where pure stands are grazed. Birdsfoot trefoil should be seeded with grasses for optimum forage production such as: timothy, smooth brome, orchardgrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Also attracts deer, turkey, and rabbit.
Austrian Winter Peas are a great cool season legume crop. They are similar to English peas but have longer vines and can be planted in food plots with clovers such as armadillo burr medic, white clover and annual ryegrass to establish a feeding ground. During the winter months when many feeds are gone, Austrian Winter Peas will continue to provide high quality feed for wildlife. Austrian peas attract deer and turkey and provide high quality forage during the cooler season.
Common vetch is used as a cover crop, green manure, pasture, silage, and hay. Its high dry matter and nitrogen accumulation, and the absence of hard seeds, make it an excellent winter leguminous cover crop in annual vegetable rotations. When planted alone, it can provide substantial amounts of N to the following crop. Common vetch offers excellent spring weed suppression. It also grows well in mixtures with cereal grains that can provide both cool-weather weed suppression and fall N scavenging.
Extremely cold-tolerant, adaptable and vigorous winter annual legume. Plant in late summer to early fall. Slow to establish, but very prolific spring growth once soil warms up. Dense, viny growth habit, 2-3 feet high. It can attain greater height when supported by rye/oats/triticale.