128 – Serkan Ates – Livestock forage plants and bees


Speaker 1: From the Oregon State University Extension Service, this is Pollination, a podcast that tells the stories of researchers, land managers, and concerned citizens making bold strides to improve the health of pollinators.

I'm your host, Dr. Adoni Melopoulos, assistant professor in pollinator health in the Department of Horticulture. You'll appreciate from previous episodes that there's a little bit of nuance to selecting pollinator plants that can serve a broad spectrum of pollinators. But once in a while, there's a plant out there that really is a super plant that punches way above its weight that serves as a real workhorse for supporting our pollinators. Legumus plants certainly fit that bill. We've got a lot of native legumus plants, for example.

You can think of lupins or astragalus. But we have also a great many that are used for feed, for livestock. Think of alfalfa.

Think about treefoil. Think about the dizzying array of different clovers that are available. Those plants are super plants when it comes to the long-tongued bees, honeybees, but also the 25 or so species of bumblebees that we have in the state.

To help us navigate the complicated agronomy of these legumus plants, but also some of the other flowering forage plants that are used in livestock production, I invited Dr. Surcan Atez. He's my collaborator. We work together on a national honey board project with pasture land and pollinators. He's just across the street from me in the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences. He does a lot of remarkable work on pasture management here in Western Oregon. In this episode, he's going to tell us about all of these different legumes, how to grow them, how you can grow them.

Thinking back to an episode we had with Bob Faulkner where he had this crimson clover plot in his backyard. You can definitely do that. But he's also going to tell you about some of the lesser known plants, things that might bloom a little bit later, might fit your landscape. But also if you're a livestock manager, how to really use these legumes to both help bees and pasture what we call a dual use system. Hope you enjoy the episode. Okay, so I want to ask you, you know lots about forage plants. What's your favorite legume here in Western Oregon?

Speaker 2: In Western Oregon probably my favorite legume is birds with trifoil from very many perspectives. First of all, birds with trifoil can withstand the negative effect of the soil water logging type of like another problem.

Speaker 1: Like because here this has been a really wet winter and there's been water pooling up.

Speaker 2: In general in Western Pacific, you know the Northwest, in winter we have a lot of like rainfall precipitation in general. And in heavy clay soils this often leads to water logging kind of like in those situations.

Speaker 1: So the tree foil can go under, can get really water logged and it's still growing, it's perennial.

Speaker 2: Absolutely, it's a shortleaf perennial crop. It has got beautiful yellow flowers in summer and it can tolerate again the poor little drained soils at the same time. You know it's deep taproot, it can also purse it's in summer dry type of environment. From these two perspectives I think it makes a perfect environment for the birds with trifoil to grow in Pacific Northwest.

Speaker 1: Well and you mentioned it's a shortleaf perennial. We have a lot of legumes. We grow a lot of legume seed here in Oregon. Tell us about some of the others, maybe some of the other perennials that you like.

Speaker 2: I think we grow a lot of white clover for seed production in Pacific Northwest as well. And white clover is...

Speaker 1: Which is another shortleaf perennial.

Speaker 2: White clover can live actually quite a long time in the impastures. It's a true perennial type of like in the crop. It is mostly grown for grazing in grazing systems, not sort of like a hay crop. And it's a fantastic type of crop. It has got high nutritive valley and it can tolerate heavy intensive grazing type of environment and it can be grown together with the grasses really well.

And it has got beautiful white top flowers in summer period which is really great for the pollinators too. When we take a look at the legumes in general we know that alfalfa is just absolutely a fantastic crop and it's grown extensively for hay production in Oregon and elsewhere in other parts of the world too. One of the things with alfalfa however it doesn't tolerate poorly drained soils which is a big problem in western Oregon right. So we just don't easily graze alfalfa except in some sort of like really well drained soils in here.

Speaker 1: How about some of the annual clover? Tell us a little bit about them.

Speaker 2: Annual clover can be grown for hay also like they can be grown in pastures and grazed type of systems. Specifically there are different types of self-regenerating annual legumes like subterranean clover for example which is very common in Pacific Northwest.

Speaker 1: What do you mean by that?

Speaker 2: Self-regenerating annual legumes in a way that they behave like weeds in nature. So what they do is in fall with the decent fall rainfall they

Speaker 1: germinate and they establish themselves in the pastures. Throughout the winter they stay dormant in the cold weather and in early spring they just suddenly grow so quickly because they have got in general lower temperature recarms as compared to very many perennial crops. So as annuals they like to produce flowers and then they wanted to produce seed. Ultimately in summer they die and they spend the summer as seed in the soil. So they kind of act like a perennial because they regenerate themselves.

Speaker 2: But technically they're an annual plant. They got a set seed to be able to get the next. Absolutely. They produce lots of hard seeds and they put them in the soil and those hard seeds are probably like depending on the variety and the type of crop. 10 to 50% of those seeds can germinate in the next fall. Some of those hard seeds can stay in the soil for up to 20 years.

Speaker 1: So you mentioned subterranean clover. You and I have talked extensively. Subterranean clover doesn't offer any benefits to bees. It's one of those clovers that I didn't know this but some of these clovers really don't have a lot of flowers right up top.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. Sub-clover from the animal production perspective or pasture production perspective. It's an excellent alternative to white clover because white clover it doesn't tolerate really drought, dry environments much because it has got shallow roots. But sub-clover with these drought escape strategy, you know, like spending summer seed in the soil which is called drought escape strategy.

It's just like in the fantastic. But like you said, sub-clover produces really, you know, the small type of white flowers and most of those white flowers is covered under the canopy. And I think that most of the bees do not easily access to these small flowers. It's probably one of the limitations of sub-clover from the pollinators perspective.

Speaker 1: Okay. But we do have annual clovers that do give a lot of flowers that are self-regenerating. Tell us a little bit about them. Absolutely.

Speaker 2: One of the other legumes that's really my favorite is Balanza clover. Balanza. Yeah. Balanza clover is grown extensively in dry areas of Australia. I think if I'm not wrong, more than 5 million hectare land at the moment is grown only with Balanza clover. You know, the beauty of this crop, like Berserker Traff Oil, it can tolerate water-logging environment really well.

In, you know, the poorly drained soils, it can grow extremely well. And it's like an ice cream for the livestock too, because livestock love Balanza clover, you know, regardless of like, you know, the cattle, the class of the animals, cattle, you know, the sheep, you know, the geese, duck, whatever you think, they would just extremely like, you know, the like Balanza clover. It's a self-regenerating annual legume. In terms of its reproductive strategy, it's a little bit different than sub-clover. Sub-clover or the subterranean clover tend to bury its seeds into the soil. That's why they call it subterranean clover.

Speaker 1: So it makes a flower, it sets a seed, and then it... Like a peanut.

Speaker 2: Yeah, like it's like a peanut. It's just like, you know, the berries it sees into the soil.

Speaker 1: And from this perspective, you know, it's just really, really successful crop under grazing environment because its seeds are protected. Balanza clover, on the other hand, it has got a different strategy. It generally like, you know, to produce so many copious amount of like, you know, the small seeds and those seeds, like, you know, they can be, you know, dispersed in the soil or even the animals like, you know, the eats, basically, Balanza clover seeds. Most of those seeds can pass through the gastrointestinal, like, you know, the track of the animals. So once the animals like, you know, defecate those seeds, those seeds are still viable.

Okay. So Balanza clover from this perspective actually, like, you know, the produce is top flowers, you know, above the canopy, which is really great for the, you know, the pollinators. But at the same time, those is one day, once they are mature, they can exactly like, you know, survive through the GI track of the animals.

Okay. And again, like, you know, it's a very, you know, the palatable type of crop for the animals. It's really useful for the pollinators. From the, like in the ecological conditions of Pacific Northwest, which is like, you know, the dry and summer and vetting winter period of time, Balanza clover seeds, this type of environment really well.

Okay. So thanks for that little rundown on some of the annual and perennial clover that you really like. And I guess we should return here to Western Oregon. So you are a Pat, you deal with pasture management. And so what's the common system of pasture that, let's say, somebody with sheep would have here in Oregon? What does it look like?

Speaker 2: First of all, when we think about the pastures,

Speaker 1: the one thing that I remember you telling me, it's, you were telling me about regenerating clover, but here it's a typically people use a non regenerating system, describe that system to us. Yeah.

Speaker 2: So for the high input data system, the typical type of like, you know, the pastures are composed of perennial, ryegrass, white, clover combination. And it's just the perfect like, you know, the combination high inputs, like, you know, the temperate type of like in the irrigated agroecologies. Sometimes the farmers like to add a little bit summer active type of crops like orchard grass, sometimes chicory and plantain, just to diversify in diverse type of mixtures.

And this is just perfect. In dry land type of environment, mostly the farmers tend to grow tall, fast, you and it's mostly tall, fast, you dominated type of pastures. Sometimes you can see white clover here and there and subterranean clover as well. Like, you know, this highly successful in dry land environment too. You can see the subterranean clover with tall, fast, you and sometimes it orchard grass in those pastures.

This is really typical in Pacific Northwest, even like, you know, the some other temperate areas of the world. The main issue when you think about the, these dry land type of environment, nitrogen for the pasture production is really important. And like in the for the plant growth and one of the like, you know, the nitrogen is the most limiting, you know, the nutrient for the pasture production as well. In particular, dry land type of pasture, this is a big problem. You can, of course, like, you know, they add chemical fertilizer, but chemical fertilizer sometimes can be costly, especially if it is a sort of like, you know, the higher hill country type of environment in those difficult terrain.

It's a little bit difficult to apply chemical fertilizer as well. The beauty of the legumes, they can fix the atmospheric nitrogen into the soil through their symbiotic type of relationship with the soil bacteria. And that nitrogen can be, you know, the used by the grasses and increase the overall posture like in the quality for sure. And the other benefit of legumes, you know, the animal like to graze legumes, they prefer over, you know, the grasses and they can increase their diameter intake and productivity at the same time. Of course, like, you know, the legumes from the pollinator perspective, they produce like beautiful flowers, a lot of like in the pollinators.

Speaker 1: Well, I remember you mentioning that in a lot of systems, even though they're using something like sub clover, they're not, first of all, that when they're not irrigated, they dry to a crisp by May. May, June, yeah. But that oftentimes they have to reset, they end up reseeding. They don't, they're not getting the regeneration.

Speaker 2: Of course, like, you know, the farmers do not like to, you know, spend money on the seeds, right? So sometimes you can see that, like, you know, the many of these postures, you know, through the time they become really cross dominated postures. And sometimes, like, you know, legumes like subterranean clover, some of those, you know, other type of like in the grasses, aside from like in the tall fescue can be dominated the posture postures. Sub clover is really successful since it buries its seeds into the soil in this tri-lent environment. Unless the farmers like to come or innovate their postures with the new like in the posture spaces, some like more diverse type of like in the postures, posture like on the spaces.

In that case, this is just a very typical type of like in the postures, you know, in Oregon. But with regeneration, like I mentioned, you know, the farmers like to utilize, you know, the plantain, chicory type of, you know, the forbs because they're really summer active, you know, the highly nutritive type of forage and white clover, they like to add white clover in their mixtures, which is really great crop as well. Um, another crop that we haven't mentioned so far is red clover. Red clover is mostly grown for hay and, you know, in Pacific Northwest as well, like in the Tesco type potential too. It's also a short-lived perennial, but it's a beautiful, beautiful type of like in the crop as well. And we grow in the valley, I believe, four seed production quite a lot too.

Speaker 1: Well, it does raise this question. So, and I think this sets up some of the research that you've been doing with pollinators that so the most, uh, uh, uh, pasture systems that are not irrigated are the sub clover annual systems. And, you know, they may recede and be able to regenerate themselves, but that there is this period in the summer where these pastures go dry. Yeah.

And in some case that land is just sitting there idle waiting for the rain. Tell us a little bit about, uh, perennial clovers and, uh, and also other perennial forages that you've been experimenting in putting into these, I guess the ideas in some of these sub clover systems, if you had these other plants growing, when that dries down, these deep rooted perennials would then sprout back up. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Okay. Of course, summer slump is a big problem for many slum.

Speaker 1: Yeah. That's what they normally call it because of the deficiency of the, like, in the forages. Sometimes like, you know, the farmers tend to, you know, the grove, uh, cover crops or like, you know, the summer active type of crops like sorghum, soot and grass and things like that. Or sometimes, you know, the brassica sometimes like, you know, like turnips in like, you know, the different types of like in the parts of the air pastures or the fields, uh, they can be irrigated. They can also, some of them can grow in dry land type of environment.

Speaker 2: What we wanted to, uh, investigate in some of our studies, we wanted to see what we can grow in dry land type of environment as an alternative to alfalfa. Like I mentioned, you know, at the beginning of our conversation, alfalfa is a fantastic crop. It can grow really, you know, the dry environments, really cold environments.

It's widely adopted to where many parts of the world ride. But again, it doesn't like the poorly drained soils. So we wanted to like, you know, to see what can be grown as an alternative to alfalfa in summer, in dry land environment. So in our study, we planted, uh, birds with trefoil. Uh, we planted chicory. We planted, um, red cullor.

We planted sane foin. And also we wanted to look at the, their combinations with the annual crops like annual forages, like, um, subterranean, chlorine, baleen, sun. Many of these crops, of course, you know, they have got high potential for the pollinators too. We wanted to look at their, you know, um, they're basically like, you know, the potential for the pollinators.

Speaker 1: Okay. So just let me stop here for a sec. So all of these plants. So as you say, the basic idea is that when you think about something like alfalfa, um, alfalfa will stay green in the dry months because it has a deep root. And so you get this foliage that you can then hay off in the summer.

Yep. Doesn't grow here. And so you were testing these alternatives to alfalfa. Uh, and one of them that you mentioned that was kind of curious, I was thinking, okay, I've heard of red clover.

Yep. Um, I've heard of trefoil now, but two that I. You maybe your listeners hadn't heard of or I, I, Chikari. Chikari. Chikari. They're growing Chikari as if something that, um, livestock like to eat.

Speaker 2: Chikari is a fantastic crop. It's not really suitable for hay production system to be perfectly honest. It's really good for grazing. And sometimes, you know, it can be, uh, you know, the silage basically and siled, um, in, in the, you know, the bale, bale silage is kind of like situations. Chikari is a posture herb. Um, it has got, you know, high, new to the valley. And it has got some secondary metabolize, which helps, um, the

Speaker 1: secondary metabolize that has got antimicrobial type of effect. Oh, so the sheep that would eat it, she had some cattle. Yeah. It would help them kind of get over something. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Sometimes I can do it helps the parasites, stretching the parasites. It boosts their immune systems. You know, it makes like the animals healthier in a way. Yeah.

Speaker 1: Because of the night. Exactly. Like very, very many people actually like to include this type of, you know, Forbes in their own liking of the diets, right? In the human beings, like plantain, for example, Chikari, you know, and diet.

These are all like, really, you know, the, uh, some of the like in the food order, the feed stuff that we like to the constant for our health. Yeah. Well, and I think a lot, many people know Chikari because it has that really distinctive, uh, it's the late summer plant.

Yes. And it has that, uh, uh, really deep, uh, uh, purple, purple, well, the deep taproot, but also a purple flower. And it seems to grow here in Oregon at a very dry time of year.

Speaker 2: Yeah, it does. Yeah. Again, you know, the Chikari is also very likely to do successful cropping, dry and to environments, and it has got like in the higher summer growth. And in summer, basically, when you like to hit the summer slum, you know, if you see something like really green and high quality, you know, the forge, you like it. And that's part of the reason why very many farms like in the Inclo Chikari in their pastures, right? And at the same time, like you said, Chikari has got beautiful purple flower. It flowers like in the summer period.

Speaker 1: The other one that you mentioned that, uh, I'm familiar of from work in Lethbridge when I was up there, but was Sanfoyne. Yes. This was Sanfoyne.

Speaker 2: Sanfoyne is a fantastic legume. You know, the possibly it can provide everything you can expect from a forge, forge legume. Um, it tolerates extreme cold weather. It tolerates extreme hot weather. Uh, it's a shortleaf perennial. It doesn't like in the pursuit as long as alfalfa does. That just probably like, you know, the stage green three, four years and then the entire like, you know, the forge stand collapse.

Um, Sanfoyne, um, you can safely graze by the animal. For example, it has got something called condensate tonnage. Um, and those condensate tonnage doesn't cause like a prevent splot for the animals.

Yeah. And it has got beautiful like other flowers, basically the pollinators, you know, the bees, for example, love them. Um, and it has got some of those anti-helminic compounds, which, you know, the helps again, you know, the parasite drenching in the animals.

Speaker 1: So, okay. So, um, and one thing that you mentioned that I think would be good for, uh, I'm thinking of this episode as a crash course for, uh, bee conservationists who want to know something about legumes. And I guess one thing that comes up with legumes is that some of them cause bloat. What is bloat?

Speaker 2: Bloat is, uh, it kind of like a, uh, a situation for like, you know, the ruminant animals, sometimes like in the special, this is a case for alpha, alpha, for example, there are different types of like in the compounds in these forages. When the animal consume especially like in the very quick, you know, the rate and high amounts. And then these like in the forages cause fruity bloat in, sorry, sort of, sort of like a foamy, you know, um, substances in the ruminant. And this formula, like in the substance, it's just like in the province, animals, the burp and belch, you know, just to basically, uh, get rid of the gas in, inside the room. So, and then suddenly like in the room and starts to swell up. Okay.

Speaker 1: So there's something in the forge that caused the bubbles.

Speaker 3: Yep. Exactly. And that traps the gas from getting out.

Speaker 2: Yep. Exactly. Okay. So alpha alpha is typically like, you know, the notorious from this, this perspective, but the crop crops like burst with trefoil and sane for instance, they have got this condensate ton in which prevents, you know, the bloat occurring in, in the bubble.

Speaker 1: Exactly. Yeah. It prevents like, you know, this 40, like the bubbles happening. I'll be darned. Okay. Exactly. So from this perspective again, like in the same point is perfect, but like alfalfa, it doesn't tolerate really poorly drained soils.

So that's a very big difficulty for same point to grow in Pacific Northwest, but in Eastern Oregon, for example, or in highland environment like Colorado, Wyoming, it's just a perfect type of like in the crop. Okay, so that was a little bit of a detour, but just before we take a break, I just want to set up this experiment. So you have an experiment was funded by National Honey Board. And it was over in Lebanon. So just up the road here from Corvallis, you had some plots. So you had these, you had described what you, the control, I guess, what we, the basic thing you were testing.

Speaker 2: We wanted to keep the alfalfa as the control crop in here. Although alfalfa cannot like, you know, the persisting poorly drained soils. The site that we planted these forges, they still have relatively better like no drainage a little bit higher alkaline type of not alkaline soils, but higher pH type of soils, which was like in the close to 6.5, which alfalfa can tolerate. So we wanted to again like another test, other alternative crops in alfalfa, other alternative crops in this environment. So we planted chicory, we planted red clover, same for in Berserker trefoil as a monoculture together with alfalfa or their combination with either subterranean clover or Balencik clover.

Speaker 1: So those that would be those two the sub clover and Balencik clover?

Speaker 2: They are the self-regenerating annual legumes.

Speaker 1: And that's what most people in the valley would do for non-irrigated pasture.

Speaker 2: Non-irrigated pastures, these, you know, the two legumes, they are very common in perennial pasture systems.

Speaker 1: Yeah. So you do them on their own and then you'd sort of, then you'd also seed in or on monoculture these, these perennial forges. And then I guess the next thing is to answer the livestock question, how much I guess?

Speaker 2: Forage production, seasonal forage production we can like to produce from these forages. That's what we did. And we harvested these forages couple times in spring and early summer. Then we let these forages to flower and produce like in the sunflower trough at the summertime before our like in the final harvest. And we look at the also the, you know, from the pollinator perspective, what is the right, you know, the potential of these different like in the crops. Yeah. Okay.

Speaker 1: All right. That sets us up. Let's take a quick break and then we're going to come back and you can tell us the results of this experiment. And if there's some, I guess the idea is if there's a dual use system, a system that can help both livestock and bees at the same time. Hey, we're back. So talking about with Dr. Sir Kanathez, we're talking about sheep and bees.

So, so these plots got, I remember them because I was, I was working with you on this. So they got harvested, they got harvested once in the spring. So, you know, simulating like the sheep going into munching down the foliage

Speaker 2: or in another way, like in the harvesting them for hay production. Okay.

Speaker 1: And so you took that off and then you, and then you went back and then you did another harvest sort of like in May. Yeah. And then the valleys, would you call it again? It got dry. It's called the what? Summer slump. Summer slump set in.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And so our onset of the drought conditions basically.

Speaker 1: So describe what those sub clover sort of the status quo kind of pastures look like on beginning of June. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Basically in those pastures, toll, Fescue still grow in summer periods, although like in the quality decreases, the growth rate decreases. Toll Fescue is a fantastic like in the grass from that perspective, but all the annual lay games die out for sure.

Speaker 3: They're dead because they complete their life cycle before the onset of the drought. They wanted to like produce the flowers. They want to produce the seed and then they shut the shop and then, you know, they die.

Speaker 1: So from a livestock perspective, you're getting off that piece of land. You're getting no legume production until it rains again. Yep.

Speaker 2: That's, that's correct. Unless there are some like, you know, the white clover who can, which, which can persist sometimes like in the high quality soils, you know, with higher rainfall environment. But in most cases, yes, legumes just generally like in the annual legumes do not tolerate that type of you know, the environment.

Speaker 1: Yeah. So what are the plots with the perennials in them look like after this point?

Speaker 2: Alpha, alpha and red color still were very productive. And although burst with trefoil in early spring didn't produce much later in summer, it just came back really strong. That's one of the issues with burst with trefoil.

Very many farmers, they love burst with trefoil in Pacific Northwest, but at the same time, it's very difficult to establish this crop. Right. But once it's, once it's established, it's just perfect.

Speaker 1: So unlike the other forges, because presumably like the Sanfoyne and the, well, let's say the alfalfa and the red clover, they produced a lot of mass in those first two harvests. Yeah. And they came back, but the birds for trefoil actually in some ways grew had its best months in the middle of summer.

Speaker 2: Yeah, absolutely. And it was a little bit the same case for chicory too. But burst with trefoil from that perspective, like it would produce really impressive amount of like in the fortune late summer.

Speaker 1: Okay. So these plants grew up. And then I guess that because at this time it would be closed to grazing because it's too dry. Yeah. These plants, did they flower?

Speaker 2: They just did flower actually, like, you know, they produce a lot of flowers, specifically the perennials, right? Because both balanca clover and subterranean clover, they finish flowering sometimes in early June, not early June, actually late May.

Speaker 3: And then, you know, the perennials took off like red clover has a lot of, you know, the flowers. Sainte-Foyne has got so much, so many like in the flowers, but the problem with the Sainte-Foyne, it didn't establish well in this, you know, high rainfall environment. Burst with trefoil produced so many copies, some of like in the beautiful yellow flowers too. And chicory, you know, chicory like, you know, much better than me from the flowering perspective. And they just had a lot of like in the flowers throughout the, you know, the summer period.

Speaker 1: And the two of us, we're going to be writing this up for bee culture sometime in the next few months. We're going to be submitting a sort of an article that you listeners can actually read the article. But I, the one thing I do remember was there was kind of like a pulse after that last harvest. The first thing that happened was the birds foot trefoil really bloomed and then it kind of waned and then the red clover and the chicory bloomed. The chicory bloom was so impressive. Yeah. Remember when we would walk through those plots, it was just really the bees were just mobbing it.

Speaker 2: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And it has got beautiful purple flowers and, you know, top flowering type of plant, of course. And it's just really, really useful for the pollinators, I believe.

And from these crops, like, you know, that was what it is initially like, you know, they intrigue me. I mean, we are using a state extensively for the animal production, but at the same time, they have got so many ecosystem benefits as well. Pollinator is one of them. And of course, like, you know, they have got different potentials for different types of pollinators.

That's exactly what we wanted to see. You know, what is their potential in Pacific Northwest? You know, sort of like, you know, the adaptive management, you know, if we manage these like in the forages, both for livestock, at the same time for the pollinators or wildlife, right?

Speaker 1: Well, so this, I guess this is the other thing that we talked about is that there are these benefits back to the bees, for example. So otherwise, this land would be just crisp and dry, just with fescue growing through.

Yeah. And now you have these flowers in the landscape that weren't there before. And I, the other thing that you mentioned is that you can get the flowering and then in August, the lambs, if you're dealing with lambs, for example, with sheep, for example, they actually do need some food. And you can go down and graze it again. And so you let the flowers grow up and then you put the sheep in at the end of August.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. I can talk a little bit about that as well.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Why is it important for, for livestock? For thinking about sheep production and sort of when they have, when they're giving birth and stuff in Washington, Oregon, how does that cycle overlay with this?

Speaker 2: First of all, you know, I wanted to make something clear. When we talk about the grasses, it's not like, you know, the possible to alternate the grasses like, you know, the legumes for sure, because grasses produce so much of like in the forges and they are more persistent.

Yeah. What I'm trying to do from the livestock perspective, trying to incorporate legumes into, you know, the grass systems more or the pasture systems more. But when it comes to like, you know, the sheep production systems, what happens in Oregon, for example? The, the lambs are most like, you know, the are born either sort of like in the inventor period of time or sometimes like in the early spring period of time. The ones that are born in winter, some of them like turn out to these, you know, the grass seed, especially the annual rye grass seed fields. So they graze a couple months. And then some of them like, you know, they're then moved on to the legume, you know, the fields for the legumes.

Speaker 1: If we're driving around the valley right now, you'll see a grass seed field and the sheep on it. So they're grazing. So these are, when we look at them, those sheep are pregnant right now.

Speaker 2: Some of them are like, you know, the already lambs, you know, they just, you know, the gay bird to their lambs. Yeah, for sure. And some of them like are pregnant at the moment.

Okay. And of course, like, you know, the many people just keep them on there like, you know, the field, they just provide a little bit of supplemental type of forges. They don't have to be, you know, the old ways on the grass seeds for sure. But again, you know, those lambs, you know, the lambs are the main crops of the sheep farms. So they need to be like, you know, to bring them to these slaughter weights and then like, you know, get some like cash for the farms.

Speaker 3: So again, the basic like, you know, the problem in, you know, the winter and spring, of course, there are like, the forest is available. But summer, mostly, you know, if it is still dry land. The pastures are supplemented with the alpha alpha hay, you know, those animals actually supplemented with alpha alpha hay, just to bring them.

Speaker 1: Oh, so the pastures go dry. Yes. And so then they have to import hay from probably eastern Oregon.

Speaker 2: Yeah, absolutely. They just like to provide the alpha alpha to those animals just to keep the live it gains higher. Okay. Sometimes they can like, you know, to put those animals on crops like, you know, the cover crops I mentioned, sometimes like, you know, turnip type of. You know, brassicas.

Yeah. Because they also like to produce high neuter development forages or like something like chicker, right? But in general, like, you know, the legumes, they have got higher quality than grasses. And most importantly, with the maturity, increasing maturity, they can retain their high quality. So what we think is, okay, we can incorporate these legumes into pastoral systems.

Yeah. In early spring, doesn't really matter if it is the cattle or the lambs or, you know, the sheep, they can graze this high quality forage. And you can still keep the like, you know, the live it gains of animals like in the lame grout, grow of the camp is still high. And in summer, you can still like, you know, to put them on normal pastures and supplement with the alpha alpha. But before finishing off, you can stockpile some of these legumes in, you know, the threat to summer period of time. And in like, in the late summer, early fall, you can put your lambs into this high quality forages and you can finish them all at probably the lower like the cost of feeding. And throughout this period, when you think about it for the pollinators, when is the like, you know, the most limiting months in terms of the pollen sources? Yeah. It's just July, August, right?

Speaker 1: So dry. So dry. Yeah. These legumes, once you, you know, the close those pastures, you know, in May, they can still like, and the produce a little bit of like in the forage and at the same time they will start flowering. Yeah. So during, let's say July or August period of time, they can produce a lot of like on the flowers for the animals. And then they can serve the stockpile type of like, and the legumes can serve for the benefit of the lambs or like in the cattle in some cases. Yeah. Okay. So these are, these would have been born. So these would have been born in the middle of summer or something.

Speaker 2: Oh, no, no, the lambs are always born in January, February, sometimes March, okay, in late winter, early, early spring period of time. Yeah. And they stay with their moms for about three months. Yeah. They like to get the milk and they get used to grazing the pastures, right.

And then afterwards, the lambs are veined. Yeah. They just like to get separated from their mothers. Yeah. They still like to maintain their high growth rates because you need to like to bring them to the slaughter weight.

Speaker 1: All right. Oh, so they're, they're, they're born in that, those months and then it's in the summer that you have to grow them up. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. And so you hit this problem where you just don't have anything. So you end up, a farmer has to bring in all this hay to get those weights up.

But if you stop, what you said is if you let this pasture with these perennials plugged in grow up. Yeah. Flower and then they'll feed the bees. Yeah. And then when the bees are stopped feeding, then you put these lambs in and then that gives them, allows them to sort of cut their hay costs. Yeah.

And they can use that to grow the lambs. Absolutely. And yeah. And this is going to be our next project together with you. We wanted to like, you know, develop a system that would just like in the more efficient for the farmers, you know, from the livestock producers. And at the same time, we wanted to see again, there's different types of like and options. What would be the implications on the pollinators, for example?

Speaker 1: Yeah. It's an exciting project for sure. Just a quick thing, because I'm sure some of our listeners here in Oregon are kind of curious, why are those grass seed fields? You imagine that you need the plant to grow the seed. Why on earth would you put sheep in there?

Speaker 2: That's a good question. First of all, one of the benefits of livestock, especially light livestock like sheep, you can graze those excess of forage material in, you know, during cool season, like, you know, late winter, early spring period, and get that excess of foliage from the field. The second important thing is the effect of grazing or the defoliation on pastures in general, they increase tillering capacity of the plants so you can produce more dense type of like in the field.

Speaker 1: So they'll fill in little gaps, the

Speaker 2: plants, like, it's like, I'm not going to grow up, I'm going to get eaten sideways. Absolutely. They produce more tillers, you know, from that perspective. And of course, those tillers like in the increase of the seed production.

Speaker 1: Oh, so the grass seed growers actually benefit from this. I guess another dual use system where the sheep, you are able to feed the sheep, but then also increase seed production because you're just making a much more productive base.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. Yeah, that's the main cause. Of course, like, you know, the unit to manage this system well, unit to know when to close those pastures, what would be the stocking rate, how close you should be grazing in winter as well, right?

Speaker 1: Let's, here's the last question I want to ask you. I didn't ask you this in the questions that prepared for you in advance, but let's say you are a homeowner, let's say you have a small acreage and you want to grow legumes just for bees in the spring. Let's say you wanted to do, you wanted to make a nice vigorous Balencia stand or Crimson Clover stand. What time of year do you establish it? What's the best time? Do you do it in the spring or?

Speaker 2: I would mostly plant these legumes in fall. You can plant them in early spring as well if you can. You know, if the soil conditions let you do that. And if you have got the irrigation, that's a possibility as well. But most of these, you know, the annual legumes, they are planted in fall, early fall time.

Speaker 1: So they'll sprout up. So you'd early fall enough for them to grow, then it gets cold and I guess they just sit there waiting.

Speaker 2: Yeah, they sit there waiting. They are dormant in winter period of time, very inactive. But in early spring again, they just like in the growth so sudden, so quickly. And then the only thing that those, you know, the plants, when they think, you know, they think that at the end of the summer, I'm going to die. Before I die, I need to produce like my foliage.

I need to produce flowers and I need to like to produce seed for like my next generation, I guess, right? So that's what they do in early spring. They grow really fast.

Speaker 1: They flower and then they die. Is it the same with perennial legumes?

Speaker 2: You do this option in the fall? Perennial legumes can be established in spring and they can be established in fall as well. Spring establishment depends on like in the conditions, like in the soil conditions when you can establish. And if you have got irrigation because, you know, summer is quite dry in here, so you wanted to ensure successful establishment of those crops. You can definitely establish them in spring as

Speaker 1: well if you got a little bit of irrigation. And which is the easiest legume to grow for somebody who's just starting out?

Speaker 2: I think I would just like, you know, to go for a sort of like a diverse legume mixture, especially if it is for pollinators. I would definitely go for crimson clover. For example, crimson clover is very easy to establish and very interactive type of crop. So many of those like in the farms, they add crimson clover in their cower crops. I would just add definitely baleincyl clover in my mixture if it is an annual type of legume of the stand. And the other two interesting crops are pergin clover and bersim clover.

Speaker 1: You've talked a little bit. No, you haven't talked about it.

Speaker 2: I haven't talked about pergin and bersim clover. Pergin clover and bersim clover, they tend to flower a little bit later in spring. Baleincyl clover and crimson clover comes the first and then baleincyl clover afterwards and bersim and pergin clover.

They are a little bit like in the warmer season active type of legumes, annual legumes. Actually, another interesting one is aeroleaf clover. We just did one like in the video, like in the session with aeroleaf if you remember.

Speaker 1: Yeah, if you go on our Facebook page, you'll see this really dense aeroleaf stand.

Speaker 2: Absolutely. Aeroleaf is the same. It just comes a little bit later in spring. But of course, like in the problem with aeroleaf is just the same with alfalfa and sanefine. It doesn't tolerate waterlock type of situations much.

Speaker 3: But on the other hand, pergin clover and baleincyl clover, they just like really flourish in this type of environment. They can tolerate poorly drained soil, waterlock type of soil, and then summer dry conditions because of their drought escape strategy.

Speaker 1: And all three of those are like a white flower?

Speaker 2: They can be different like, you know, baleincyl clover, sort of like, you know, the white, pinkish, you know, the type of crimson clover, of course, from the name.

Speaker 3: It has got beautiful red, you know, the flowers. They're huge, yeah. And pergin clover, if you walk into, like, in the field with this clover and if something is smelling like perfume, it's most probably, you know, pergin. Really?

Yeah. Pergin, you know, the clover, just flowers, just so beautiful like a perfume. And like baleincyl clover, it tolerates waterlocking really well. But as compared to baleincyl clover, it's not a self-regenerating annual legume because it doesn't produce this hard seed. So it's only the soft seed. So you can only see pergin clover once or two years in a row and then, you know, not much after the rest.

Speaker 1: This is an interesting thing. If we take a sidetrack here, because hard and soft seed, I think is like a key issue, is that for a lot of people, the heart, one thing you notice with legumes is they're in every ditch. Yeah. They flew off a hay pile 50 years ago and that they create, they reseed vigorously and they're just difficult to get out. But I guess soft seeds are very easy to get out.

Speaker 2: Yeah, absolutely. Like, you know, the many of those soft seeded like, you know, the crops, if you kill them, let's say by harvesting them before, you know, the seed set, or with the, like, the chemicals, it will be very difficult for those plants to, you know, keep persisting in that environment because in the soil, there is no seed bank.

Speaker 1: So persian clover is one of these that is a soft seed once. So it's, even if it drops seed down, it won't accumulate.

Speaker 2: Yeah, it won't accumulate. I'll be darned. Yeah. And the same thing for bursim clover, for example, bursim clover is one of those sub-trapical type of, you know, the clover species.

Uh-huh. But in Oregon, that's what I like about, you know, the Oregon, there are so many like, you know, the progressive type of, you know, the farmers, seed companies here. They developed this balsam clover, you know, they developed this bursim clover. Now we have got available cold, tolerant bursim clover variety in here, which is called frosty bursim clover.

Speaker 1: So you can like, in the growing, like in the colder environment like this, but it's a sub-trapical type of, you know, the legume. And in summer, throughout the entire summer period, it will just like in the, keep growing and flowering up until September, even. So it's a fantastic crop. And we should say that last year, we did a seed mix together that we'll be doing again this year. So if you're in Oregon, you may, in one of our events, you might see this, the seed mix that has a number of these annual clover's in so you can watch them.

Speaker 2: Yep, absolutely.

Speaker 1: Yeah. Well, thank you for giving us a crash course in clover. We really appreciate it and legumes and forages. And we're really looking forward to the, what happens in the next round of your project. It sounds like a really great opportunity to put some bee food in the landscape at a time of year that it's really difficult. Absolutely.

Speaker 2: Thank you very much, Anthony.

Speaker 1: Thank you so much for listening. The show is produced by Quinn Sinanil, who's a student here at OSU in the New Media Communications Program. And the show wouldn't even be possible without the support of the Oregon legislature, the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and Western SARE. Show notes with links mentioned on each episode are available on the website, which is at pollinationpodcast.oregonstate.edu.

I also love hearing from you and there's several ways to connect with me. The first one is you can visit the website and leave an episode-specific comment. You can suggest a future guest or topic or ask a question that could be featured in a future episode. But you can do the same things on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook by visiting the Oregon Bee Project. Thanks so much for listening and see you next week.

Some of the best plants for long-tongued bees like bumble bees and honey bees are grown for livestock. This week we dive deep into these livestock plants with Dr. Serkan Ates. Dr. Ates is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences. His research focuses on pasture and grazing management for improved animal production and product quality. He was recently awarded a National Honey Board grant (along with your host) to develop a dual-use system that feeds both livestock and bees.

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