IFA and Haystack Mountain both have many decades of experience serving farmers, ranchers and range managers in the Intermountain West. Their experts work together continuously to develop new seeds and seed mixes that thrive in the challenging conditions of this region. Below are a few favorite seed and crop choices you may want to consider as you plan for the needs of your farm, ranch and customers.
A cool season annual legume that resembles alfalfa. It is unique in that it’s not known to cause bloat in livestock. In pasture applications, it will improve the quality and yield of forage and create substantial quantities of nitrogen.
Frosty Berseem Clover improves the overall forage yields of alfalfa, especially on new stands of alfalfa where its rapid, cool-season growth will supplement the first cutting and result in harvest yields as good or better than second and third cuttings. It can be mixed with grasses, other legumes and grains. It can also be sown in Spring or Fall, cut for hay multiple times and regrowth can be grazed.
A high nitrogen fixing, highly palatable and digestible annual legume capable of creating more than 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre. It can be used as a cover crop or over-seeded into existing stands, has excellent crude protein and relative feed value. A deep taproot allows this clover to break up soil compaction. It’s also quick to germinate and is excellent for weed control.
FIXation Balansa Clover can be used in mixtures with other legumes and grasses as well as used for hay, silage (by itself, with small grains, or in rotation with corn silage) or for over-seeding warm season grasses. Crops can utilize the nitrogen created by FIXation over the winter months, lowering future production costs.
FIXation is tolerant of high pH up to 8.5 and will thrive in most soil conditions from poorly drained heavy to sandy soils. It also tolerates waterlogged soils and short periods of flooding. Though it is an annual, FIXation can regenerate for up to three years if allowed to set seed.
Prosper™ Forage Mixtures
If you are in a rotation cycle or want to plant a high yield forage crop, consider the following benefits of Prosper™ beardless grain mixtures:
- Beardless varieties eliminate the need for thrashing and avoid the livestock eye and respiratory problems manifest with long, pesky beards.
- A grain mixture eliminates the risk of nitrate poisoning common in single-grain planting like oats or triticale.
Improved lodging resistance.
- Balanced, full-spectrum nutrition.
A combination of beardless barley, beardless wheat and oats. Oats, barley and wheat each have their own spectrum of nutritional value. By themselves they are excellent forage. Put them together and you have a broad-spectrum, balanced nutrition pallet comprised of all thee species.
Prosper™ Plus adds forage field peas. Prosper™ with Intimidator Oats include a giant “tree” oat called Intimidator and will grow up to six feet tall and boasts exceptional yields.
Premium Pasture Mixes
Pasture mixes are an excellent solution for those looking for long-term pasture. We offer a number of irrigated and dryland mixes, including mixes designed for salt/alkali soils. Haystack Mountain Pasture Mixes use premium grass components selected especially for Intermountain West conditions.
Haystack Mountain’s pasture mixes have early, mid and late maturing varieties to accommodate hay cutting and fall grazing.
Seed for High pH & Sodic Soils
Soil high in salt and/or alkali present challenging growth conditions. Basic soils range from mildly alkaline, requiring little more than a variety selected for tolerance, to highly alkaline, nearing the point where very little will even survive in the conditions.
Valley bottoms, sump areas, margins of marshy or damp areas and desert lowlands are commonly high in pH and salt. While these areas are challenging, there are solutions that will return an investment and turn a useless plot into a stand that will produce something of value. IFA and Haystack Mountain have a variety of species we can suggest for these challenging conditions.
Custom Seed Blends
There are times when the situation calls for a custom solution. Challenging soil and water conditions, unique weather patterns or a specific end-use require a seed mix tailored to your specific needs. CRP and pollinator mixes are an example of custom seed blends.
IFA Certified Crop Advisors have more than 300 grasses, forbs, shrubs and pollinators at their immediate disposal and they can help you develop a seed mix that is right for you. They can also quote a blended seed mix that is right for you.
Written by Jason Stevens, Maple Leaf Seed Company, on behalf of IFA Agronomy, and originally published in the IFA Cooperator magazine (vol. 82, no. 1) Spring 2016.