Forage legume species grown in Texas are as diverse as the soils and climates found across the state. They differ in their growth habit, growing season, cold tolerance, and adaptability to soil texture, pH, and drainage. Good stands, maximum growth, high N2-fixation rates, and persistence are dependent on the forage legume species being well adapted to the soil and climate. The basis for successful legume production is to know your soil types and select legume species that are adapted to those soil types. The local USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service can provide assistance in identifying the soils on your farm or ranch. Following is a discussion of most legume species grown in Texas that includes their strengths and weaknesses and where they are best adapted. Preferred soil characteristics, plant characteristics, and seed rates are condensed in Table 1. For more information about the species, download the article Descriptive Information on Cool-Season Forage Legumes(PDF).
Table 1. Soil characteristics for optimum growth of cool-season annual legumes, legume species characteristics, and recommended seeding rates
Evers and Smith, Res. Ctr. Tech. Report No. 98-3, Texas Agric. Exp. Stn.
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