Perhaps our most exciting new forage is Alice White Clover. And we need to give it some time to see if it will be as exciting as it looks right now. Our first establishment was in the spring of 1999 on a sacrifice area where we had wintered the herd. We had unrolled hay and baleage across 4 paddocks using break wire feeding, from early December until the 14th of March. The area was heavily covered with manure but it was not cut up severely since the winter had been quite dry.
We used a Tye no-till Pasture Pleaser drill to seed 30# of BG-34 and 2# of Alice along with 6# of Cinnamon Red Clover. Within two weeks we got rapid establishment of the Rye grass and could see small seedlings of clover. The spring continued dry and by May 10th we needed to graze the area lightly to reduce the competition from weeds and existing pasture species for the new seedlings. It was dry and we saw no pulling or damage to the new seedlings. Around the 25 of May we again grazed the paddocks lightly. Rainfall was only slight for the entire month and that trend carried into June and July. Competition from weed species from opening the sod continued to be a concern so we began topping the paddocks with a sickle bar mower cutting at about 5 inches. The ryegrass began disappearing from the stand and small clovers were very sparse. We continued to clip the paddocks all summer on a three-week schedule but never grazed them after that time. The old sod recovered to a small degree and the former legumes recovered slightly but the herd rejected all the weed encroachment so that seemed the best alternative.
Steve Wallace stopped by in Mid August to look at the stand and agreed to provide additional BG-34 seed to try to reestablish the stand again. We continued to wait for moisture to seed but the fall stayed dry and we never felt there was adequate moisture for establishment.
March 28th of 2000 we again used the no-till drill to establish the BG-34. Since we hadn’t seen much of the young clovers the past fall we decided to reestablish the Alice along with the ryegrass. Again it was dry until late in May but then we began getting consistent moisture. Suddenly we were engulfed with White clover. In fact it apparently consumed the ryegrass as well because the ryegrass is still very limited in the mix. The paddocks needed close supervision, as I had never seen a stand of white clover so heavy.
With small allocations bloat has not been an issue but a concern to us was the fact that the herd refused their small allotment of grain fed in the parlor during the time they were on these paddocks. They were just too full to eat anything else.
The real eye opener on the Alice is the long stolens, which can be found growing from the plants. Several can be located which are up to 12 inches long. This spreading ability will be an asset in our very droughty farm.