Clover seed brings benefits to Oregon's growers and the environment

Crimson clover blooms in Washington County. Photo by Nicole Anderson.
Crimson clover blooms in Washington County. (Photo by Nicole Anderson.)
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Expanding the market for crimson clover seed means economic growth and fertilizer reduction

Crimson clover isn't just a pretty sight to passersby – the seed crop was worth more than $5 million to Oregon in 2011. OSU Extension is working to boost that number by promoting the clover's nitrogen-producing qualities to growers in other states.

Crimson clover has long been used as a cover crop, and because it puts nitrogen into the soil, it can help growers save on fertilizer and reduce chemicals from leaching into groundwater. More than 95 percent of the crimson clover seed produced in the United States comes from western Oregon. Of the 7,650 acres harvested last year in Oregon, 63 percent of it came from Washington County.

Extension field crop faculty member Nicole Anderson has been working with the Oregon Clover Commission to form partnerships with local Extension agents, crop consultants and growers in other states. Anderson and the commission also created a popular brochure with recommendations for establishing and managing crimson clover cover crops.

Source: Oregon Agricultural Information Network, Nicole Anderson

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