Cover Crops & Legumes

Cover crops are an agronomic tool for alleviating soil compaction and soil-born pests, capturing, recycling and redistributing nitrogen and other nutrients, and enhancing the seedbed for following crops. They have the ability to reduce leaching, runoff and erosion, build soil organic matter and microbial action, and attract beneficial insects. Legumes are a common cover crop and can also be used as an agronomic tool for forage, hay, green manure, ground cover, crop rotations, as well as human consumption and oil production. The legume plant group has the ability to fix nitrogen and improve the overall health of the soil. With the integration of legumes into crop rotations, usable nitrogen is kept in the soil, reducing the need for commercial fertilizer applications. Landmark Turf & Native Seed provides a range of species that do exceptionally well as cover crops for a variety of regions, soil compositions, and planting needs. 

Alfalfa

Alfalfa, Medicago sativa, is a deep-rooted and moderately long-lived perennial. It is one of the most widely used legumes for hay production, as a cover crop, and in pasture, range and revegetation mixes. Some varieties exhibit spreading ability that is suitable for grazing. Common varieties of Alfalfa include Ranger and Vernal. 

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 200,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 15-25

Creeping-Type Alfalfa

Creeping-Type Alfalfa has a tap root and thick, spreading horizontal roots which allow it to spread underground much like many grasses do. This makes it an excellent fit in new pasture seedings with grass, or as a reliable legume to interseed into existing pasture. The crown is wider and set deeper into the ground than other tap root-type Alfalfas. Creeping-Type Alfalfa generally survives for long periods of time, but management has a significant impact on longevity. Cultivars have varying levels of winter hardiness and disease resistance which contribute to determining the longevity. Creeping-Type Alfalfa can be used for hay, pasture or for stockpiling.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 200,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 15-25

Falcata Alfalfa

Falcata Alfalfa, Medicago sativa ssp. falcata, is a variety of Alfalfa with yellow flowers used in mixed grass plantings and for interseeding on semiarid rangelands and irrigated pastures in the western United States. It is extremely drought and winter hardy and can persist on harsh rangeland by going dormant during challenging conditions when water is limited. It has more of a creeping or fibrous root system than purple flowered Alfalfas, which allows it to spread by roots. Falcata Alfalfa will also have less risk of bloat in a grazing application and responds well to grazing pressure. The seed size of Falcata Alfalfa is much smaller than purple flowered Alfalfas so a smaller amount can be used in a blend or for interseeding.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 450,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 10-15

Ladak + Alfalfa

Ladak + Alfalfa, Medicago sativa, is a drought tolerant cultivar selected from a 28-year-old Alfalfa stand near Spokane, WA. Ladak + Alfalfa exhibits improved persistence, drought tolerance and seed yield, and is highly resistant to bacterial wilt, phytopthora root rot and stem nematode.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 200,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 15-25

Landmark Multifoliate Alfalfa

Landmark brand Multifoliate Alfalfa is a high forage yielding, persistent Alfalfa with excellent forage quality potential. It expresses quick re-growth after cutting to maximize the growing season. Landmark Multifoliate Alfalfa performs best in high producing well-drained soils. It has a solid disease, insect, and nematode resistance package that helps defend itself in adverse environments. Landmark Multifoliate is an Alfalfa variety for the dairy or beef producer that demands high tonnages of dairy quality forage.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 200,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 15-20

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Annual Ryegrass

Annual Ryegrass, Lolium multiflorum, has an extensive, soilholding root system. It is a fast-establishing, short-lived annual or biennial depending on climate and growing season, cool-season grass for forage and erosion control uses. Annual Ryegrass has a mature height of 10 to 36 inches. As a cover crop, it establishes quickly even in poor, rocky or wet soils and tolerates some flooding once established. Annual Ryegrass is well-suited for field strips, grass waterways, or exposed areas. Its dense yet shallow root system improves water infiltration and enhances soil tilth. As a high nitrogen user, Annual Ryegrass can capture leftover nitrogen and reduce nitrate leaching throughout the winter. Annual Ryegrass is highly palatable and is relatively easy to establish so it can be used for grazing, hay, silage, and conservation purposes. It is widely adapted and found throughout the entire United States. Common forage varieties include Madonna, Ration, and Westerwold.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 225,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 8-16

Attack White Mustard

Attack White Mustard, Brassica alba, is a bio-fumigation tool with resistance to Columbia root knot nematodes and sugar beet cyst nematodes. It can be utilized by organic growers as well as to reduce fumigation pesticide use in IPM programs. Attack White Mustard is an agronomic tool to help manage soil-borne pests while alleviating soil compaction, capture, recycle and redistribute nutrients, enhance the seedbed for the following crop, reduce leaching, runoff and erosion, build soil organic matter and microbial action, and attract beneficial insects.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 100,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 10-20

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Austrian Winter Peas

As high nitrogen fixers, Austrian Winter Peas, Pisum sativum ssp. arvense, produce abundant vining forage and contribute to short-term soil conditioning. Their succulent stems break down easily and are a quick source of available nitrogen. Austrian Winter Peas grow rapidly in the cool, moist weather they encounter as winter annuals in the south, and as early-sown summer annuals in the northeast, north central and northern Plains areas. Austrian Winter Peas can withstand temperatures as low as 10°F with only minor injury, but they do not overwinter consistently in areas colder than moderate Hardiness Zone 6. Under a long, cool, moist season during their vegetative stages, Austrian Winter Peas produce more than 5,000 lb. dry matter/A. Austrian Winter Peas are top nitrogen producers, yielding from 90 to 150 lb. N/A, and at times up to 300 lb. N/A. They are also water thrifty, quick growing, forage boosters, long-term bloomer (an early and extended source of nectar for honeybees), and chill tolerant.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 4,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 50-80 (drilled), 90-100 (broadcast)

Barley

Barley, Hordeum vulgare, is an annual or biennial grass that is widely cultivated for yielding grain for breakfast food, as a cover crop, for animal feed, and in malt beverages. Black Barley, awnless, hooded, 2-row, 6-row, varying awn lengths and varying spike lengths characterize the many Barley types. It has a mature height of over 24 inches. Barley grows well in cool, dry areas with supplemental irrigation. It is more winter hardy than Oats but is more prone to winterkill than Wheat or Rye. Barley can be grown in a wide variety of locations because there are both summer and winter varieties, and it can withstand high elevations and short growing seasons.

Seeds/Pounds (approximate): 14,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 60+

Stockford Beardless Barley

Stockford Beardless Barley, Hordeum vulgare, is a two-rowed, hooded, Spring Barley that is adapted to the Intermountain area of the Pacific Northwest region and the Western Prairies of Canada. It is medium tall at 32 inches and matures in mid-season with fair to good drought tolerance. The appearance and performance of the Stockford variety is stable and uniform. Stockford Beardless Barley can be used in dryland and irrigated areas for hay, grain production, forage, and as a cover crop. It has good resistance to lodging, shattering, straw breaking and neck breaking.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 14,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 100

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus L., is a long-lived, highly palatable legume with a high feed value. It is winter-hardy, widely adapted, easy to maintain, and has certain advantages over Alfalfa, Ladino Clover, and Red Clover. It is more tolerant of infertile and acidic soil, less likely to cause bloat, and survives better than most legumes.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 375,000 

Seeding Rate (Pounds/Acre): 4-10

Buckwheat

Buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum, is a speedy, short-season, cover crop. It establishes, blooms and reaches maturity in just 70 to 90 days and its residue breaks down quickly. Buckwheat suppresses weeds and attracts beneficial insects and pollinators with its abundant blossoms. It is easy to kill and the dense, fibrous roots cluster in the top 10 inches of soil providing an extensive root surface area for nutrient uptake. It takes up phosphorus and some minor nutrients that are otherwise unavailable to crops, then releasing these nutrients to later crops as the residue breaks down. Buckwheat grows vegetatively and flowers until it is killed by frost. It has primarily been used for humans and livestock, honey crop, smother crop, and green manure.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 20,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 40-50

Cereal Rye

Cereal Rye, Secale cereale, is a hardy annual grass that is widely cultivated for grain production, forage, and soil improvement and has a mature height of 24 inches. Due to the late harvest of many crops, fall-planted cover crops often do not reach adequate growth to provide winter soil protection. Cereal Rye can germinate and grow under cooler conditions and still provide considerable dry matter, an extensive soil-holding root system, significant reduction of nitrate leaching, and exceptional weed suppression. Cereal Rye can also be used for spring forage production, and fed as pasture, green chop, or put up as haylage. It is the best cool-season cereal cover for absorbing unused nitrogen in the soil.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 18,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 80+

Cicer Milkvetch

Cicer Milkvetch, Astragalus cicer L., is an extremely winter-hardy, long-lived, sod-forming perennial legume. Its forage is late-maturing, bloat-free, succulent, and very palatable for all classes of livestock. Cicer Milkvetch has been utilized for quality pasture and forage and requires at least 14 inches of average rainfall.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 130,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 5-7

Alsike Clover

Alsike Clover, Trifolium hybridium, is a winter-hardy, short-lived perennial clover that acts as a biennial. It is well adapted to cool climates and wet soils. Alsike is ideal for hay production in areas of high precipitation or poorly drained soils and for short rotation pasture mixes.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 700,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 7-10

Balansa Clover

A newer cover crop used in the southeastern United States, Balansa Clover, Trifolium michelianum Savi, is a small-seeded annual legume with superior reseeding potential compared with other legumes including Crimson Clover. Well-adapted to a wide range of soil types, Balansa performs particularly well on silty clay soil with a pH of about 6.5. Established stands tolerate waterlogging, moderate salinity, and soil pH from 4.5 to 8.0. Balansa does not do well on highly alkaline soils (30). It is considered marginal in Zone 6B.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 500,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 5-8

Berseem Clover

A fast-growing summer annual, Berseem Clover, Trifolium alexandrinum, can produce up to 8 tons of forage under irrigation. It is a heavy nitrogen producer and the least winter hardy of all true annual Clovers. This makes it an ideal winterkilled cover before corn or other nitrogen-demanding crops in Corn Belt rotations. Berseem Clover draws down soil nitrogen early in its cycle. Once soil reserves are used up, it can fix 100 to 200 pounds N/A or more. It establishes well with an oat nurse crop, making it an excellent cover for small grain > corn > soybean rotations.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 200,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 10-15

Crimson Clover

Crimson Clover, Trifolium incarnatum, as a winter annual is usually planted in the late summer to early fall. Crimson Clover is used as a winter cover for soil protection or green manure crop for soil improvement. It can be utilized in pasture, hay, organic farming, pollinator enhancement, or silage mixes.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 120,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 20-25

Ladino Clover

Ladino Clover, Trifolium repens ssp. latum, is a long-lived perennial which spreads by creeping stems or stolons that root at the nodes. This is a giant form of White Clover that is very high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is a good producer of high-quality feed and is utilized extensively as a soil building crop. Ladino Clover is an excellent legume to use in combination with other legumes and grasses. Compared to other types of White Clover, Ladino Clover has larger leaves and is a taller variety. 

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 800,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 5-10

Medium Red Clover

Medium Red Clover, Trifolium pratense L., is a short-lived perennial of 2-3 years and usually produces 2-3 cuttings of hay or silage per year with the most aggressive growth in the spring. Medium Red Clover is an aggressive establisher and can be seeded alone, in mixtures with grasses, frost-seeded with a nurse crop, or interseeded into an existing stand. Forage quality is comparable with that of Alfalfa under similar harvest schedule.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 260,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 5-12

Purple Prairie Clover

Purple Prairie Clover, Petalostemon purpurea, is a perennial legume with pinnately compound leaves and rose to dark purple flowers in dense spikes. It has a stout taproot and is palatable to wildlife. The flowers bloom from July to early August and grow to a mature height of 12 to 36 inches. Purple Prairie Clover can be found across Indiana to Saskatchewan and south to Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico in rocky plains and hillsides, open wooded areas, stream valleys, and roadsides. It does best in full sun and dry to mesic well-drained soils.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 293,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 6-8

Strawberry Clover

Strawberry Clover, Trifolium fragiferum, is a short-lived perennial with some creeping ability. It is a low growing, nitrogen-fixing legume with stolons and round pink flower heads resembling strawberries. It is tolerant of wet saline and alkaline soils and is able to withstand flooding, poorly drained sites, and short periods of drought. Strawberry Clover is persistent once established and more tolerant of heavy grazing than other Clovers. This legume may be used for erosion control, pasture, hay, green manure, pollinator habitat and groundcover in orchards and vineyards.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 290,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 4-8

White Clover

White Clover, Melilotus alba, is a short-growing biennial used for grazing or haylage. It is shallow-rooted and spreads by creeping branches which root at the nodes. It grows best under cool, fertile, moist conditions. White Clover is an aggressive creeper and is tolerant of close grazing.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 770,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 2-4

White Dutch Clover

White Dutch Clover, Trifolium repens, is a short-lived, creeping perennial legume. It is shallow-rooted and very cold hardy so it makes a good choice for lawns and pasture mixes. White Dutch Clover can also be used for hay. Compared to other White Clover varieties, White Dutch Clover is a common type with medium-sized leaves.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 700,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 5-7

Yellow Blossom Sweetclover

Yellow Blossom Sweetclover, Melilotus officinalis, is a cold-tolerant biennial legume that is very easy to establish. It is drought and cold tolerant and used for erosion control on saline and alkaline soils. Yellow Blossom Sweetclover typically matures 10 to 14 days earlier than White Clover.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 260,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 8-15

Collards

Collards, Brassica oleracea, are a versatile, highly nutritious, and digestible forage for livestock. Collards are slow to bolt and flower when spring planted making them a good choice for late spring and early summer grazing. This Brassica remains vegetative for an extended period of time and can reproduce lost biomass for continued seasonal grazing or haying even under drought conditions. Collards are similar to Rape because of their large tap root that grows downward and penetrates deep into the profile, breaking hardpans. As a Brassica, Collards are excellent at scavenging excess nutrients that remain from the previous crop with the added benefit of maintaining living roots in the soil profile until termination the following spring.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 175,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 5-10

Common Vetch

Common Vetch, Vicia sativa, is a summer annual vine with leaves that are divided into many leaflets. Although this is typically considered a weed when found growing in a cultivated grainfield, this hardy plant is often grown as green manure or livestock fodder.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 18,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 15-40

Cowpeas

Cowpeas, Vigna unguiculata, are one of the most productive heat-adapted legumes used agronomically in the United States. They thrive in hot, moist zones where corn flourishes but require more heat for optimum growth. Cowpeas protect soil from erosion, smother weeds, and produce 100 to 150 lbs N/A. They are an excellent addition to any warm season mixture and make a great protein source in pasture, hay and silage. Cowpeas rapidly germinate and grow, resulting in quick shade and ground cover which reduces erosion and controls weeds. Cowpeas also have low moisture requirements and are a quick source for green manure and as a cover crop.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 4,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 50-80

EverLeaf 126 Forage Oats

EverLeaf™ 126 is a true Spring Oat with dark green foliage, an erect growth habit, and very good standability. EverLeaf™ 126 has leaves that actually extend above the canopy at heading. EverLeaf™ 126 is a delayed heading Oat and much of its forage mass and quality come from an extended maturity. Since the plant is naturally vegetative for a longer period, biomass accumulation is extraordinary. EverLeaf™ 126 has a compact panicle that offers an attractive product when baled.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 11,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 80-140

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Forage Kale

Forage Kale, Brassica oleracea var sabellica, is often planted in the fall and used as a winter crop because of its winter hardiness. Its tap roots open up the soil and its ability to be planted in the winter helps to control erosion making it an excellent cover crop. Forage Kale has a similar spring green up to forage Rapeseed and crop management is similar to other Brassicas. Forage Kale can be planted on its own or in a mix with other crops. 

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 225,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 3-8

German Millet

German or Foxtail Millet, Setaria italica ssp. stramineofructa, is a popular hay-type Millet that is leafy and fine-stemmed with compact heads. It exhibits good lodging resistance. The hay is sweet and palatable when harvested at late bloom. German Millet is an annual that blooms later than Siberian Millet with yellow seed. It has a mature height of 13 to 24 inches. 

Seeds/Pounds (approximate): 80,000-100,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 25+

Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa, is a hardy, winter annual legume that can be planted in either fall or spring. It is used for cover cropping, hay, pasture, or as erosion control and is commonly planted with cereal grains. Few legumes match Hairy Vetch for spring residue production or nitrogen contribution, soil conditioning, early weed suppression, and adaptability. It is widely adapted and winter hardy through Hardiness Zone 4 and into Zone 3 (with snow cover). Hairy Vetch is a top nitrogen provider in temperate and subtropical regions. The cover grows slowly in fall, but root development continues over winter. Growth quickens in spring when Hairy Vetch becomes a sprawling vine.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 20,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 20-25

Horizon Spring Peas

Horizon Spring Peas, Pisum sativum, are a cool-season, forage legume that can have rapid growth in the spring and produce excellent forage, with high water use efficiency. Spring Peas are a desirable legume in crop rotations because they break up disease and pest cycles, provide nitrogen, improve soil microbe diversity and activity, improve soil aggregation, conserve soil water, and provide economic diversity. Spring Peas can slightly increase forage yield but will boost forage quality. Horizon Spring Peas are adapted to many soil types but grow best on fertile, light-textured, well-drained soils with little acidity. They require cool, moist growing conditions in temperate regions, at high elevations, or during cool seasons in warm regions throughout the world. Once established, Horizon Spring Peas can withstand heavy frosts but can easily be killed by herbicide at all growth stages.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 3,000+

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 50-80 (drilled), 90-100 (broadcast)

Japanese Millet

Japanese Millet, Echinochloa frumentaceae L., grows 24 to 48 inches tall. It is taller and coarser than other Foxtail Millets and it matures quickly with a forage yield that is much less than that of Pearl Millet. Japanese Millet is also planted for wildlife feed and for temporary soil stabilization on construction sites.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 120,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 15

Lacy Phacelia

Lacy Phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia, is used extensively in Europe both as a cover crop and bee forage and is growing in popularity and use in the United States. Lacy Phacelia is quick to grow and flower and does well in dry soil. It has a mature height of 12 to 36 inches. It does a good job of limiting nitrate leaching when planted in early fall and winterkills at about 18°F. In cooler regions, Lacy Phacelia can be used between cash crops as a cover crop in the summer. Lacy Phacelia is listed as one of the top 20 honey-producing flowers for honeybees and is also highly attractive to bumblebees and syrphid (hover) flies. Lacy Phacelia's habit of flowering abundantly and for a long period can increase beneficial insect numbers and diversity because it provides high quality nectar and pollen.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 245,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 1-2

Lentils

Lentils, Lens culinaris, are most commonly grown in low rainfall, cooler climates during the spring. Lentils are produced for human consumption around the world as well as for livestock feed with high levels of crude protein and low digestive inhibitors. Lentils can be used to change cereal crop rotations because they can break pest cycles and fix nitrogen in the soil profile all while obtaining a harvestable crop. They provide an early season green manure crop and high quality forage. Lentils thrive in cool, dry conditions like the northern Great Plains where they can remain relatively free of disease. They are known for their strong seedling vigor and their ability to emerge through thick cereal stubble. With rapid seed germination, seedlings generally outgrow the threat of insects or disease pressure during establishment.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 15,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 20-40

Mustard

Mustard is a name that is applied to many different botanical species including White or Yellow Mustard (Sinapis alba, sometimes referred to as Brassica hirta), Brown or Indian Mustard (Brassica juncea, sometimes erroneously referred to as Canola), and Black Mustard (B. nigra L.). The glucosinolate content of most Mustards is very high compared to the true Brassicas. Mustards also produce significant biomass and capture high amounts of residual nitrogen. Because Mustards are sensitive to freezing, winterkilling occurs at about 25º F and they are used either as a spring/summer crop. Brown and Field Mustards both can grow to 6 feet tall. In Wheat/Mustard-Potato systems, Mustards show promise for reducing or eliminating the soil fumigants.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 100,000-200,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 5-14

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial Ryegrass, Lolium perenne, is a perennial, cool-season, introduced bunchgrass growing to a height of 18 to 36 inches. Perennial Ryegrass is one of the most widely used grasses and is adaptable to a wide variety of soils and climatic conditions. With a leafy head and fine stem, it is considered very palatable and used for both forage and hay. Perennial Ryegrass is a proven performer in pastures in the northern area of the United States.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 227,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 4-8

Piper Sudangrass

Piper Sudangrass, Sorghum sudanese, is a variety of Sudangrass that is highly palatable and high-yielding. This summer annual forage is adapted to many types of soils and environments but should be used with caution when grazing or haying because of nitrates and prussic acid. Piper Sudangrass is a bunchgrass that has a mature height of over 24 inches.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 68,000; Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 20-30

Anaconda Radish

Anaconda Radish is a ‘double resistant’ selection because of its resistance to M. chitwoodi and H. schachtii nematodes that break the pest cycle and reduce damage to following crops. Anaconda improves soil health and water quality, reduces leaching and erosion, and increases productivity. It flowers late with white flowers. Anaconda also has a large regrowth potential due to its high early vigor. When sown as a main crop to suppress nematodes, it can be cut and left to re-grow, increasing the nematode suppression.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 34,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 10-20

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Nemaflex Radish

Nemaflex Radish has resistance to nematodes, breaks the pest cycle, and reduces damage to following crops. It improves soil and water quality and increases farmland productivity. Nemaflex is an agronomic tool to alleviate soil compaction, soil born pests, and captures, recycles and redistributes nitrogen and other nutrients to enhance the seedbed for the following crop. It has the ability to reduce leaching, runoff and erosion, build soil organic matter and microbial action, and attract beneficial insects. Nemaflex flowers much later than any other Radish variety and is short in stature making it easy to incorporate. 

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 34,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 10-20

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Vitality™ Daikon Radish

Vitality™ Radish, Raphanus sativas var. longipinnatus, is a multi-purpose “Daikon type” also referred to as Forage or Fodder Radish and has been selected for use in cover crop systems to improve water quality and increase farmland productivity. Vitality™ Radish is an agronomic tool to alleviate soil compaction, suppress weeds, capture, recycle and redistribute nitrogen and other nutrients in the soil profile, enhance seedbed for following crop, and reduce nitrate leaching. It has the ability to reduce runoff and control erosion, build soil organic matter and microbial action, and attract beneficial insects.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 34,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 8-10 (drilled), 12-14 (broadcast), 14-16 (aerial into standing corn or soybeans) 

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Rapeseed

Besides their use as an oil crop, Rapeseed, Brassica napus, and other Brassicas including Canola are also used for forage. If pest suppression is an objective, Rapeseed should be used rather than Canola since the breakdown products of glucosinolates are thought to be a principal mechanism for pest control with these cover crops. Rapeseed has been shown to have biological activity against plant parasitic nematodes as well as weeds. Due to its rapid fall growth, Rapeseed captures high amounts of residual nitrogen and accumulates significant amounts of above ground biomass. Common forage varieties include Hobson and Napoleon.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 157,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 3-10

Sainfoin

Sainfoin, Onobrychis vicilfolia, is a winter-hardy, non-bloat legume with forage that is high in quality, very palatable, and readily consumed. It is deep-rooted and very drought resistant with hollow, succulent stems and pink flowers. The mature height of Sainfoin is between 8 to 36 inches. Sainfoin is adapted to dryland areas of the western United States. It matures faster than Alfalfa, providing highly nutritious early spring forage.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 30,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 35-45 (irrigated), 25-35 (dryland)

Sorghum


Sorghum, Sorghum bicolor, is widely cultivated as a grain and forage and is a drought tolerant bunchgrass type. It has a mature height of over 24 inches. It is typically used for milo grain production in the south and forage production in the north. Forage Sorghum is a hybrid with a very sweet stem, excellent leaf retention, and is highly palatable. Forage Sorghum has excellent foliar disease resistance and maintains a healthy canopy until harvest.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 16,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 20-40

Sunn Hemp

A tropical legume, Sunn Hemp, Crotalaria juncea L., can produce more than 5,000 pounds of dry matter/A and 120 pounds N/A in just 9 to 12 weeks. It can fill a narrow niche between harvest of a summer crop and planting of a fall cash or cover crop and is especially fitted to vegetable production. Sunn Hemp sown by September 1 following a corn crop in Alabama, for example, can produce an average of 115 pounds N/A by December 1. Sunn Hemp is not winter hardy and a hard freeze easily kills it. Sow Sunn Hemp a minimum of 9 weeks before the average date of the first frost. Sunn Hemp seed can only be produced in tropical areas, eliminating the threat of re-seeding or weediness to only the very southern regions of the Gulf States.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 15,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 15-30

Sweetvetch

Sweetvetch, Hedysarum boreale, is a drought tolerant, native perennial adapted to grassy slopes, rocky hillsides, canyons and high shrublands. It is commonly called Utah Sweetvetch and is widely distributed throughout the United States. Sweetvetch is an attractive legume with colorful pink-purple pea-like flowers that bloom from May to August. It prefers well-drained loamy sites, but is tolerant of sandy or clay soils. Sweetvetch is used for habitat restoration, reclamation and roadsides and is also a very palatable for livestock and wildlife.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 33,600

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 15-25

Quickguard Triticale

Quickguard Triticale, Triticum aestivum x Secale cereale, is a hardy hybrid of Wheat and Cereal Rye producing a high yield of forage. Quickguard combines the grain quality, productivity, and disease resistance of Wheat with the vigor and hardiness of Rye. Both winter and spring types were developed with an emphasis on spring types. Quickguard is an annual, cool-season, introduced bunchgrass that grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches. It is well-adapted to a wide range of soil varieties and is used for reclamation and stabilization of disturbed areas across the United States. 

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 14,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 10-20

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Spring Triticale

Spring Triticale, Triticum aestivum x Secale cereale, is a hybrid cross between Cereal Rye and Wheat. Triticale is typically superior to Rye or Wheat when used in silage, hay, or pasture. It is drought tolerant and primarily used for forage production, as a cover crop, nurse crop, or as emergency forage. The harvested grain can be used in various livestock feed or for human consumption in cereals and baked goods. Early spring planting improves quality and yield and Triticale can produce high levels of dry matter even under challenging conditions. It is later maturing than Oats or Barley and will maintain its forage quality for an extended harvest window. Triticale does well in a wide range of soil conditions including lighter soils or areas with low to moderate levels of salinity.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 14,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 80-100

Winter Triticale

Winter Triticale, Triticum aestivum x Secale cereale, has better forage quality, similar to Wheat, coupled with the tonnage potential of Cereal Rye. Winter Triticale when planted in the fall, is as winter hardy as Winter Wheat but less than Winter Rye. Planting Triticale in the fall means the root systems develops faster to better take advantage of spring and fall moisture, maturity happens earlier, the yield potential is higher, and there is less risk of nitrates compared to spring-planted crops. Winter Triticale is typically superior to Wheat for pasture, silage, hay, erosion control, and for grain used for feed. It has great yield potential, stress tolerance, and drought tolerance, and disease resistance compared to Barley, Oats, and Wheat. Winter Triticale should be planted in fields with good drainage, and sandy loam to heavy clay soil textures.

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 16,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 100-120

Turnips

Forage Turnip or Purple Top Turnip, Brassica rapa, is a cool-season, annual or biennial Brassica that is somewhat frost tolerant. It prefers deep, fertile, sandy to heavy clay soils. Forage Turnip can be used as a high quality forage crop and in late fall and winter. It can also be planted in the spring for summer grazing or in the summer to extend the grazing into late fall. The leafy tops can be lightly grazed before fall and the bulbs are dug for forage in the winter by grazing livestock and wildlife, even under snow. 

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 80,000-200,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 1-5

Winter Wheat

Winter Wheat, Triticum aestivum, is typically grown as a cash grain but it can also provide many of the cover crop benefits of other cereal crops as well as a grazing option prior to spring tiller elongation. Winter Wheat is less likely than Barley or Rye to become a weed and is easier to kill. Wheat is also slower to mature than some cereals making it easier to manage in spring. As a cover crop or for grain, Winter Wheat adds rotation options for underseeding legumes or other small grains for forage or nitrogen. Winter Wheat can also serve as an overwintering cover crop for erosion control in most of the continental United States. If rainfall is sufficient, it is an excellent nurse crop for frostseeding Red Clover or Sweetclover. It also works well in no-till or reduced-tillage systems and for weed control in potatoes grown with irrigation in semiarid regions. Wheat has a fine root system that improves topsoil tilth. It prefers well-drained soils of medium texture and moderate fertility while tolerating poorly drained, heavier soils better than Barley or Oats. 

Seeds/Pound (approximate): 15,000

Seeding Rate (pounds/acre): 60-120