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Author Topic: clover for a fallow field?  (Read 5354 times)
Paul H
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« on: July 20, 2008, 01:11:08 AM »

There is roughly an eight acre field next to my property that a local farmer discs once or twice a year, but has not planted in the last four or five years.

Clover is said to be a great cover crop, and I know it could not only be planted here pretty easily, but it would offer many future benefits as well.  Now,  I realize that bees forage over a wide area, but if this plot were planted with nothing but white clover, would that provide a noticeable influx of clover honey coming in durring the appropriate time durring the summer? 

I'm tired of looking at this barren, weedy field year after year.  Clover is cheap to plant, does well here and will benefit any future crops.  As a beekeeper, how desireable is a large field of clover? 

Just another crazy idea or could I get some great  honey from this?
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dpence
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2008, 01:26:14 AM »

Clover makes great honey.  If I were seeding it, I would use several clovers, dutch white or ladino, sweet clover (yellow and white) and maybe crimson.  Buckwheat also makes a good cover crop.  Just my .02.

David 
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2008, 02:46:48 AM »

Clover has the added benefit of nitrification of the soil... and if there's one thing that's constantly lacking in most fields, it's nitrogen.  So it would be of much bigger benefit to him... and that's enough acreage that I'm sure you'd get some honey off it.  Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
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Bee-Bop
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2008, 09:00:21 AM »

Clover;

If you want it to place nitrogen in the ground with clover, be sure and do the seed treatment.

Go to a farm supply store and get the true facts.

Take information froms forums with a grain of salt.

Bee-Bop
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2008, 10:53:29 AM »

you need to research the price of clover seed and if you plant it it has to be innoculated to get a good crop. i think clover seed is pricey.
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2008, 11:12:24 AM »

you need to research the price of clover seed and if you plant it it has to be inoculated to get a good crop. i think clover seed is pricey.

Yes it does have to be inoculated and is a little pricey but planting clover is well worth it as others have said it adds nitrogen to the soil, its also wonderful for other wildlife such as deer as clover is 30% protein, yep.

Once its planted, and takes well, the following yr you can cut the area free of weeds and the clover is still there, sometimes you don't have to replant for 2-3 yrs with clover.

The BEST honey I have ever eaten came from South Dakota, from some Mennonites that grew predominately sweet yellow clover, this honey was so good you wanted to take the bottle and go hide in some dark corner and hog it all for yourself!!!


Oh, and its good to plant a variety but man, that sweet yellow is fantastic!!!


...JP
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EasternShore
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2008, 09:17:56 PM »

What is the process of innoculation? I have a 40 Acre plot but know nothing about it.
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Ken
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2008, 09:59:06 PM »

Innoculant I think is a bacteria that sets up in the root system of legume type plants that fixes nitrogen into the soil that it acquires from the host plant.
It is introduced to the soil when the seeds are planted.
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greenismycolor
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2008, 10:42:33 PM »

Paul, check when you buy your seed. Some are already inoculated.
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dpence
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2008, 10:46:46 PM »

Clover seed is not too bad, about 3.50#.  I agree with JP sweet clover is highly coveted.  We have both varieties along with ladino in a pasture we lease.  The cool thing about your small dutch white clovers is you can actually overseed a yard and have a nice turf that requires less mowing.  Save gas!   grin  Pennington Seeds sells a clover mixture called "Rack Master" for those who want a food plot.

David
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2008, 11:18:45 PM »

I thought I read some place that clover needs a lot of water  huh
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JP
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2008, 11:20:39 PM »

I thought I read some place that clover needs a lot of water  huh

Some varieties are bred to be more drought resistant.


...JP
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2008, 11:45:21 PM »

Walter T. Kelley has white and yellow clover mixed.  It's a great thing to plant for bees.  Add some chicory, some birdsfoot trefoil, some asters and some goldenrod and you're pretty well set.
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Cindi
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2008, 09:28:37 AM »

Inoculants are very important parts of farming.  When we plant peas, for example, more often than not, we dust the seeds in the inoculant for peas, it really does help the crop.  I looked on the internet for you about inoculating clover seed prior to planting, it seems inoculating "stuff" really is important.  Good luck...beautiful and most wonderful day, Cindi

http://overton.tamu.edu/clover/guide/inoctext.htm
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JP
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2008, 09:43:35 AM »

Inoculants are very important parts of farming.  When we plant peas, for example, more often than not, we dust the seeds in the inoculant for peas, it really does help the crop.  I looked on the internet for you about inoculating clover seed prior to planting, it seems inoculating "stuff" really is important.  Good luck...beautiful and most wonderful day, Cindi

http://overton.tamu.edu/clover/guide/inoctext.htm


Whenever we plant clover we make a slurry by adding water to the inocculate, then mix it with the clover seed, then sow the clover seed.

Make sure you get the inocculate when you purchase the clover or at least as others have said find out if they are already inoculated with some type of powder, but we never plant without inocculating.


...JP
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kathyp
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2008, 12:23:56 PM »

inoculation is desirable when you plant the crop for the first time.  if you over seed later with the same crop, it is less important because the bacteria is already in the soil.  it's cheep and easy to do, so no reason to skip it.  it does not impact the germination or nectar production of the plant.  it only causes the plant to fix, rather than use, nitrogen in the soil.  if you are trying to improve the soil, or avoid fertilizing, inoculate.

research your clovers.   not all are attractive to the bees.  most seem pretty resistant to long dry periods once established.  i usually plant mine in fall, but you can pitch it out there in early spring also. 

i have been impressed with the buckwheat.  in spite of having been planted in our crappy, wet, spring. it has done well and survived weeks with no rain and no irrigation.
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Paul H
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« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2008, 10:34:01 PM »

Thanks for all the comments and information.  It's all been quite helpful.

I guess the final question I have is, how beneficial would this be to me as a beekeeper?  The main, motivating factor here for me is the production of  clover honey.  I understand all the pluses to planting the clover, but I'd really only do this for the honey.

So,if I had ~6 acres of solid white and yellow (sweet) clover, would it make a noticeable impact in  honey production with roughly four to six hives placed on it?   
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dpence
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« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2008, 01:10:16 PM »

Absolutely... grin

David
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2008, 09:13:56 PM »

Oh yeah, you'd probably notice even just one acre... you'll definately notice 6+ acres.
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