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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Delta, Utah
    Posts
    494

    Default Best plants for cows and bees

    I have an opportunity to do something I've never done before. I've been asked to keep bees on a few thousand acres of irrigated pastureland. Unfortunately, there's not a lot growing on it besides grass. But the farmer said I could sow anything I want as long as cows could eat it. It's not farmed only grazed and it would likely bloom for quite a while. I'm thinking Alfalfa, yellow and white clover, Tanacetifolia (although I'm not sure cows will eat this). Anything else anyone would suggest that's done something like this? Looking for something that provides good nutrition plus nice honey. Thanx!
    -Rob Bliss
    Bliss Honey and bee supplies

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camarillo, CA, USA
    Posts
    304

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    Dutch clover , also known as strawberry clover
    Larry Pender,Jubilee HoneyBee Company,Camarillo, CA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,503

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    legumes will cause bloat in the cattle, not sure if your land owners would be fancy to alfalfa,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    3,488

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    Sanfoin is a bloat free legume that the bees love and I think will bloom the first year. Good ole yellow and white sweet clover is a biennial but it reseeds and the grazed off plant will rebloom rapidly from the base and should definatelybe part of your plan. The yellow blooms first and the white is a little later.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Chittenango,Ny (upstate)
    Posts
    309

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    I seem to remember sweet clover causes bleeding in cows if eaten in quantity. Not sure if its yellow or white but the drug coumadin (blood thinner) was developed from it. You should research it a little before planting

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,503

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    we are only concerned with that if the clover had been put up as hay, moldy
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Bloomfield,KY
    Posts
    265

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    Sweet clover that has molded works as an anticoagulant if eaten by cows and can kill them. Cattle don't care for it because the plant contains coumarin which causes the plant to taste bitter to them. Bloat can be a problem when they graze on immature sweet clover but not as bad as when they graze alfalfa.
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,282

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    common vetch is another legume that does not cause bloating.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,639

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    >I seem to remember sweet clover causes bleeding in cows if eaten in quantity.

    Only if it is cut and then gets wet and molds. A mixture is best. Grass, birdsfoot trefoil, alfalfa, chicory, white sweet clover, yellow sweet clover, ladino clover, asters, goldenrod, white dutch clover and crimson clover would be my first choices.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,035

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    Check with a local seed dealer about sainfoin. Vance's suggestion is a good one.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Van Alstyne, Texas
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    Consider checking with county extension agent. Usually very resourceful and familiar with other aspects of agriculture. State veterinarian should be able to give you a list of plants that could be toxic to cattle.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Bloomington, IL, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    Grassfed beef farmer and beekeeper here - I've tried quite a bit on the farm. Red clover is great for the livestock, great for the bumblebees, only okay for the honey bees because the nectar is deep in the flower. White dutch clover (the type that pops up in your yard) is great for honeybees and cattle but doesn't provide a lot of volume of feed for the cattle. Alfalfa is great for cattle but I don't see the honeybees on it heavily. I really like birdsfoot trefoil both as a livestock crop and a bee crop. It's the only one of these legumes that will not cause bloat in cattle if eaten in large quantities. As long as there is a mix with grass, I've never had a bloat problem even in areas with lots of clover.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    683

    Default Re: Best plants for cows and bees

    Can't go wrong with sainfoin.

    Eric. I always see bees on alfalfa when its allowed to bloom.

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