Published Mar 10, 2015

RESEARCH REPORT: Nitrogen replacement value of red clover

By Stefan Gailans

Extending and diversifying a crop rotation to include a small grain presents farmers with the opportunity to also include a forage legume that could possibly reduce the need for synthetic N fertilizer. As part of an on-farm research project that spanned the past two growing seasons, farmer-cooperator Tim Sieren, who farms near Keota in Washington County, grew in rotation corn following cereal rye frost-seeded with red clover and corn following cereal rye alone.¬†Tim also applied a low and high N rate to the corn following rye + red clover and the corn following rye alone. The result of this work is the report entitled, “Nitrogen replacement value of red clover.”


Tim Sieren and his family hosted a field day in June 2014 to discuss this trial.

Corn grows through rye and clover stubble at Tim Sieren's farm in early June 2014.

Corn grows through rye and clover stubble at Tim Sieren’s farm in early June 2014.













Among the key findings:

  • Corn following rye and red clover and receiving 100 lb N/ac yielded the same as corn following rye alone that received 143 and 190 lb N/ac.
  • This was enough of a reduction in applied N to significantly reduce the amount of money Tim spent on N fertilizer per bushel of corn produced.

This project is supported by the Walton Family Foundation. For more information on this study, contact Stefan Gailans at

The full report can be found here.