Information gathered from the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) was used to compile this summary on how to use berseem clover as a cover crop in Ohio. For more information, see the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide, Third Edition, and the Cover Crop Selector Tool found at: midwestcovercrops.org/selector-tool/.
- Narrow leaflets
- Hollow stems
- Cream-colored flowers
- Short taproot
- Summer annual
- Minimum germination temperature: 42 degrees Fahrenheit
- Reliable establishment window (state average): June 10–Aug. 16
- Upright growth habit: 16–20 inches
- Preferred soil pH: 6.2–7.0
|Heat tolerance||Very good|
- Drilled at ¼–½ inch
- 8–15 lb./acre (pure live seed)
- Broadcast with shallow incorporation
- 9–17 lb./acre (pure live seed)
- Broadcast without incorporation
- 10–18 lb./acre (pure live seed)
Additional planting information:
- 206,880 seeds per lb.
- Inoculation type: berseem, crimson.
- When planting on slopes or using for forage/grazing, increase seeding rate.
- Broadcasting without incorporation is usually less dependable than drilling or broadcasting with incorporation.
- When interseeding, time the seeding to match appropriate crop growth/maturity.
Disclaimer: Rules for Financial Assistance Program Recipients
Individuals participating in financial assistance programs are required to follow Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Appendix A regarding seeding rates and dates. Failure to do so will jeopardize payments. Appendix A can be found in Ohio’s Field Office Technical Guide, Section 4, Ecological Sciences Tools: efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/#/state/OH/documents/section=4&folder=-6.
- Dry matter = 1,200–3,000 lb. per acre, per year.
- Biomass quantity is highly dependent on planting/termination dates and precipitation.
- Total nitrogen = 70–150 lb. of N per acre (not fertilizer replacement).
- Nitrogen release can vary considerably depending on stand density and growth, soil temperature, and moisture after clover has been destroyed.
|Soil builder||Very good|
|Erosion fighter||Very good|
|Weed fighter||Very good|
|Mechanical forage harvest||Excellent|
- If terminating with only tillage, multiple passes are often required.
Additional termination information:
- Follow NRCS guidelines for cover crop termination dates to comply with crop insurance.
|Frees phosphorus (P) and potassium (K)||Good|
|Compaction fighter||Very good|
|Attracts beneficials||Very good|
Delayed emergence: could be a minor problem
Increased weed potential: occasionally a minor problem
Increased insects/nematodes: could be a minor problem
Increased crop diseases: occasionally a minor problem
Establishment challenges: occasionally a minor problem
This publication was adapted with consent from the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) with content from the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide, Third Edition, and Cover Crop Selector Tool (midwestcovercrops.org/selector-tool/). It was created under a joint project with MCCC to produce customized introductory guidance about cover crops for all member states/provinces. Ohio cover crop recipes can be found at midwestcovercrops.org/statesprovince/ohio/.
The Midwest Cover Crops Council (midwestcovercrops.org) aims to facilitate widespread adoption of cover crops throughout the Midwest by providing educational/outreach resources and programs, conducting new research, and communicating about cover crops to the public.
Funding for this project was provided by McKnight Foundation.