By Newman Turner
Editor’s Note: This article is a part of our series on Forage Mixtures.
All the herbal ley mixtures are suitable for use as four-year leys where it is usual to break the ley after four years. Three years is too short a period in which to derive maximum benefit either in yield of grass or soil fertility; and I consider four or five years the optimum life. Each mixture is, however, basically also a permanent pasture mixture, so may be left down longer if necessary.
The quantities of seeds making up the mixtures are the ideal for quick establishment and soil coverage; but where extra economy is necessary in seasons of high-priced seeds, the eventual pasture, though slower to ‘fill up,’ will be ultimately just as good with up to a third less seed, thus reducing the cost by one-third. But soil conditions, seedbed and fertility must be perfect for this reduction of seed quantity.
Herbal Ley Mixture for Very Thin, Dry Soils
(and to resist extreme drought conditions)
The main essential of a mixture for thin soils, soils overlying and close to the rock, and in excessively dry countries, is that it should contain a predominance of the deepest-rooting varieties available, consistent with their production above the ground. This makes the most of such little moisture as is present in the deeper subsoil; and where the subsoil is largely rock some penetration of the rock can be achieved by the more powerful of the deeper rooters.
Every one of the ingredients of this mixture is an exceptionally deep rooter, except the clovers S.100, Trefoil, Alsike and Late-flowering Red—and even Alsike and Trefoil and reasonably drought-resistant. All prosper on the thinnest soils; but the mixture is not ideal for good deep soils.
Lucerne or Alfalfa Mixtures
Lucerne Pastures for Silage or Grazing
In a wet season, which the lucerne does not enjoy, the Red Clover and S.100, together with the grass, prosper and produce a large bulk. In a very dry season, when the shallower clovers suffer from drought, Lucerne will make up a full crop almost single-handed.
The Chicory will thrive under all conditions.
For silage only, omit S.100 and reduce Red Clover to one pound in each case.
Source: Fertility Pastures