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Extension > Agriculture > Nutrient Management > Nutrient/Lime Guidelines > Fertilizer Recommendations for Agronomic Crops in Minnesota > Red Clover, Alsike Clover, and Birdsfoot Trefoil

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Fertilizer Recommendations for Agronomic Crops in Minnesota

Red Clover, Alsike Clover, and Birdsfoot Trefoil

Daniel E. Kaiser, Extension Soil Scientist; John A. Lamb, Extension Soil Scientist; and Roger Eliason, Director, University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory

Revised 2011

These legume crops, if properly inoculated, can take needed nitrogen from the atmosphere and fertilizer N will not be needed after the crop is established. A small amount (less than 25 lb. N/ acre) may aid in getting successful establishment on sandy soils. Fertilizer N will not be needed for establishment on soils that are not sandy.

The phosphate suggestions for these crops are summarized in Table 1. The potash guidelines are in Table 2. Phosphate and/or potash fertilizers can be topdressed to established stands on an annual basis. The suggested rates of these two nutrients can also be broadcast and incorporated before seeding. This management practice may help in achieving a satisfactory stand.

Table 1. Phosphate guidelines for red clover, alsike clover, and birdsfoot trefoil.

    Phosphorus (P) Soil Test, ppm *
Expected Yield Bray: 0-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21 +
Olsen: 0-3 4-7 8-11 12-15 16 +
ton/acre   — P2O5 to apply (lb./acre) —
2   35 25 15 0 0
3   55 40 25 10 0
4   70 50 30 10 0
5   90 65 40 15 0

* Use one of the following equations if a phosphate guideline for a specific soil test and a specific expected yield is desired.

P2O5rec = [20 — (1.0) (Bray P, ppm)] (Expected Yield)
P2O5rec = [20 — (1.4) (Olsen P, ppm)] (Expected Yield)

Table 2. Potash guidelines for red clover, alsike clover, and birdsfoot trefoil.

Expected Yield Potassium (K) Soil Test, ppm *
0-40 41-80 81-120 121-160 161 +
ton/acre — K2O to apply (lb./acre) —
2 95 65 40 15 0
3 140 100 60 20 0
4 185 135 80 25 0
5 230 165 100 35 0

* Use the following equation if a potash guideline for a specific soil test and a specific expected yield is desired.

K2O rec = [53.28 — (0.333) (Soil Test K, ppm)] (Expected Yield)

These legumes will respond to the application of lime if the soil pH is less than 6.0. Lime suggestions for these crops have not been well defined. An application of 3,000 lb. ENP per acre is suggested for these legumes grown on acid soils. The lime should be broadcast and incorporated before seeding.

Except for the need for sulfur (S) when these crops are grown on sandy soils, other nutrients are not needed in a fertilizer program. Use an annual broadcast application of 25 lb. S per acre when these crops are grown on sandy soils.

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