INSIGHT - The winter snows are leaving so it is time to think of crops. One of the first field jobs is spreading red clover into winter wheat. The seeding rate is five to six pounds per acre. I do not know why some folks seed more than this. I know that if your stand does not catch, using a higher seeding rate will not help.
When you seed five to six lbs/ac that gives about 30 seeds per square foot. Even if only half of these germinate that is still 15 per square foot. You only need eight to 10 plants per square foot to have a good stand.
The factors that affect your success of establishment are early seeding, lack of weed competition and good moisture in August and September, like we had in 2009.
Some growers are thinking about switching to single cut red clover. Their thought is that it is not as aggressive as double cut. Last year some fields of double cut red clover underseeding interfered with wheat harvest. That occurrence is the exception, not the rule. If that happens again a timely application of glyphosate preharvest will set the red clover back.
If you want to try something different, try inter-seeding red clover into corn. Pick a field that is only treated with glyphosate. Spread red clover at the seven-to-eight leaf stage of corn. This should be mid-June. The researchers can make this happen in plots but I have never seen it in a farmer’s corn field. It should work.
By seeding at the seven-to-eight leaf stage the clover will not interfere with the corn crop. If you get good moisture in August and September you might have a good cover crop going into the winter. BF