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Author Topic: anything good for farmer and bees?  (Read 1265 times)
BjornBee
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« on: January 31, 2009, 06:09:28 PM »

I have a neighbor farmer who has cut an old pasture in the past and baled it. We were glad to have it cut, he was happy for the bales. He raises some cattle on the side.

He will continue to cut it, but I wanted to seed it for bee forage throughout the summer.

Is there any cover crop that would be good for the bees, such as yellow clover, buckwheat, alfalfa, etc., that would also be good for the farmer who would cut it after the blooms are done. I know most things like alfalfa, are less nutritious after going to bloom. But would it not make good feed anyways for a few head he keeps on the side?

I can get him to plant anything I want, but wanted him to benefit also.

Any suggestions?
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 07:03:39 PM »

Alfalfa is probably the best for the cows.  It's also great for your soil since it's a legume it will add nitrogen to the soil, consequently a great rotation crop.  HONEY PLANTS OF NORTH AMERICA implies that east of the Missouri alfalfa rarely has substantial nectar flows.  Buckwheat would probably give you the most reliable flow, although I understand that the taste is unpalatable to some and I don't know how it is in hay.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 08:19:46 PM »

I plan on replanting my current pasture to a legume mix once I have the next pasture completely fenced.  That is a mixture of Alfalfa, sweet clovers, red clover (the shorter variety), Trefoil, and vetch with timothy and Barley included.  It is quite tenacious (hardy) and excellent food for grazing animals.  Those plants are also very attractive to bees.  With such a mix you can walk through the field and see almost a bee on every flower.  With the variteties of legumes it will blossom all summer long so a few acres can easily sustain a hive by itself.  It also reseeds well.
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Jessaboo
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 10:05:00 PM »

What about mustards? That can be used as cattle feed, right? Cindi swears the bees love brassicas.
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reinbeau
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2009, 09:46:40 AM »

Cindi's right, they do love the brassicas.  I think Brian's legume mix sounds awesome for both the bees and the farmer's soil!
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brooksbeefarm
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2009, 02:48:25 PM »

Bjornbee, I would check with the farmer before seeding clover,(which i'm sure you will) some clover will bloat cattle and cause death.My neighbor has 40 acres of alfalfa across the road from me and he lets it bloom 3 to 4 days before he cuts it.(get's him a quart or two of honey}.About the buckweat,I put out 1 acre each year,after it blooms and goes to seed,I mow it.I usally get three blooms a year.I don't know about pasturing the buckweat? It's also a legume.
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