I have a sheep farm. Right now on my land I have clover (planted as a frost...

Asked July 3, 2019, 12:42 PM EDT

I have a sheep farm. Right now on my land I have clover (planted as a frost seed.) It is growing well and I am pasturing sheep on a part of it. I intended to kill it to plant hay which I have not been able to do because of too much rain. What can I do with the clover - can I bale it? Or should I leave it and let my sheep forage it all winter? If it is frozen will it hurt the sheep? I assume the sheep will need other feed during the winter but I am hoping this clover will help me out. Also, should I plant some other cover crops to boost the clover? Of course I am worried about the price of hay this year. Thanks for your help. Carolyn - sheep and goat farm.

Shiawassee County Michigan

1 Response

Any clover can be baled as dry hay however it is hard to dry so most prefer harvesting it as silage. If a silage option such as baled silage exists, then that could work. If you want to gain it’s full value as a grazing crop, you would want to graze it multiple times. Most clover wilts quickly after a heavy frost (late October in most of southern Michigan) so it should be grazed by early November as it does not stockpile well into the winter. Depending on conditions and other stored forage options for winter, you could reseed it into pasture in August. A third option would be to graze it now and reseed the field with a mix of purple top turnips and forage oats in late July to mid August. If the ground is fertile and conditions are good, that could be grazed through the snow into as late as February