Sowing legumes with winter cereals

Discussion in 'Holistic Farming' started by Hartwig, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. Hartwig

    Hartwig Member

    I would like to try and mix some either redclover or lucerne with my winter cereals-drilling this autumn, preferrably with winter barley.
    Idea is to have a double-crop, either combine the barley and chop all straw if the legume is not so much or stripper header off the barley and mow and bale the straw with the legume in it if the legume is too thick for combining the cereal with cutterbar.
    Then let the legume grow for fattening lambs on it in late summer/autumn and disc-drill the next winter cereal (wheat) into it, maybe let some sheep lightly graze it further on in the autumn and then knock back the legume in the spring with a herbicide.
    Everything direct-drilled of course.

    Can anybody give me advice on what to take care about, seed rates and most scary for me : which herbicide options do I have this autumn / next spring with a clover or lucerne growing in the cereal crop ??
    And what herbicide and rate is needed if I have to suppress (not kill !) the legume next spring if neccessary ?
  2. err, common practice for many many years in Australia, undersowing cereals with legumes ( Lucerne in particular ), but sorry, can help with seed rates / herbicides
  3. awkward

    awkward Member

    kerry ireland
    would white clover be more suitable
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  4. Old McDonald

    Old McDonald Member

    Inland Portugal
    An old fashioned system in various countries around the world was to sow a mix of oats and vetch to cut for hay. It may or may not suit your system.

    Obviously if you want the grain then this is not suitable for you.
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  5. What growth stage would that be cut? I've heard of it done with oats just before the seed head comes out at '''boot" stage but never heard of it done with vetches
  6. Old McDonald

    Old McDonald Member

    Inland Portugal
    Like a lot of things ......... it depends. In my northern parts of the UK, I think it used to be referred to as mashlam, but do not quote me, it would probably depend on when it dried out enough to make hay. In Australia, the only other place of which I have the experience, it was before it dried out too much. Not a very helpful answer, but the best I can give. I suppose it would depend on whether you thought you could get more grain (oats and the legume) by leaving it a while, or take a better quality non-grain part of the crop.

    Here, yellow lupin without a cereal is normally grown as a one season hay crop. Also used as a green manure crop.
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  7. Thanks for the reply :)
    I'm keen on a cereal break of some sort between grass reseeds or after aaroot crop before an autumn reseed for a bulky silage crop but I hate wholecrop because the grain in it means it gets ruined by rats. Doing it before the grain comes out would solve that problem but I haven't tried it yet. Vetches would raise protein levels I'm guessing so would be a better feed than just a cereal which would just be a glorified grass really :rolleyes: thinking out loud now maybe I should stick to grazed forage crops :unsure:
  8. Old McDonald

    Old McDonald Member

    Inland Portugal
    I am not so sure that grain in the boot would be ignored by rats if you have a problem with them. No experience so only surmising.

    I am totally in favour of grazing. It is by far the cheapest way to get forage into ruminants, and in my very unhumble opinion the best way of building soil OM. I can elaborate on my own experience if you wish. If you are not familiar with Elliott's 4 years' ley and 4 years' cropping check it out. - thje Clifton Park System of Farming by Robert H. Elliott, available from various (free) sources on the internet.
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  9. You may be right about the rats :cautious:
    I have the book but haven't read it yet. It's next on my lost to read I've been told lots of good things about it :)
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  10. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand
    That's fairly common practice locally.
    Generally cheap, unnamed uncerted white clover is established and then cereals drilled through it, it helps regulate the amount the animals graze the cereals when the sheep "top it".
    It also keeps the moisture in the soil, instead of steam/splashing causing fungal/mould issues, and keeps the soil alive post-harvest.

    I really struggle with the inane belief that you can't grow good cereal crops without lashings of chemicals, farmers really are like sheep!
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  11. as said, oats & vetch a common mix here. Lots of bulk. Lots of green.
    my plan this year was to plant oats & vetch behind my cotton, & then use cattle to graze / trample / pee / sh!t all over it, primarily for the soil biology benefit & secondly for the grazing income
  12. graham99

    graham99 Member

    back the eightys, it was all grazed.but were were only doing drought protection .there was only one big problem with grazing and that was trash.
    Old McDonald likes this.

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