Berseem Clover Before Corn

Published Feb 17, 1996

PFI farmers were among the first to introduce berseem clover into their cropping systems. Cooperators are still examining this annual legume for its production and compatibility. Tom and Irene Frantzen, Alta Vista, have compared berseem and red clover for the last two years (Table 1). Oats has yielded better when seeded with red clover than with berseem, but the fast-growing berseem has made more straw when the oat/legume mix is baled. There was also more berseem regrowth after mowing in 1994.

The 1995 corn yielded nearly six bushels better after berseem than after red clover. But the late spring soil nitrate test showed plentiful nitrogen across the field. Tom attributes the advantage to planting conditions, explaining that the berseem left the soil in better shape than did the red clover. (Both treatments were disked before planting.) Many people have remarked that in the wet spring of 1995, planting conditions made all the difference to the success of a crop.