close up of balansa clover

Balansa Clover

Trifolium Michelianum

Balansa clover is a high-yielding annual legume that can tolerate a wide range of soils.

A very tolerant plant.

Balansa can grow over an extremely wide range of soils tolerating pH levels from 4.5-8.3. The species is quite tolerant of waterlogged soils and can even withstand short periods of flooding. Balansa clover is mildly tolerant to saline soils.

Distinguishing marks.

Balansa somewhat resembles white clover, yet has very distinct differences. It has white and pink flowers, hairless serrated leaflets that can grow very large. Its stems are hollow. Select varieties can extend up to 10 feet in length.

close of balansa clover

Grows like no other.

Balansa clover is quick to germinate, however the first stage of growth is spent in forming a multi-branched rosette emerging from a single taproot. During this stage balansa is somewhat vulnerable to competition as the branches are close to the ground. Survival can be increased by sowing into a clean weed-free seedbed or by grazing/mowing competing species.

This growth pattern allows balansa to persist under intensive grazing regimes. It will continue to form branches under grazing pressure. As temperatures warm or grazing pressure is reduced the stems will turn upright, forming a multi-branched hollow stem with copious amounts of plant mass up to 3 feet high.  As the plant matures it will continue to grow and produce blossoms that are very attractive to pollinators. Balansa clover is capable of producing large amounts of hard seed and if managed properly can regenerate itself from seed for up to 3 years.

 

Useful as a cover crop and much more.

Balansa clover is unique cool-season annual legume native to the northeastern Mediterranean region and becoming widely used in North America and other parts of the world. Balansa can be used for grazing, hay, cover cropping, and wildlife feed.

Balansa clover can be used in mixtures with other legumes and grasses in pasture situations, where it can re-generate from seed under proper management conditions. Other applications include silage (by itself or in rotation with corn silage), as a cover crop for nitrogen production and weed control, and in over-seeding warm season grasses and crops that can utilize the nitrogen created by the clover over the winter months.

Good eating.

Balansa clover is easily digestible with protein levels in the upper 20’s, making it valuable to all sorts of livestock and wildlife.

Nitrogen producer.

In pasture applications, balansa clover will not only improve the quality and yield of the forage, but it can also create up to 100 lbs. N/A each year. This improves both the quality and quantity of forage long after the clover has reached the end of its life cycle. In order to achieve optimal nitrogen fixation ability, balansa clover needs to be inoculated with Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii. This is best achieved with Nitro-Coat®.

 

What we recommend.

FIXatioN balansa clover has demonstrated improved cold tolerance, high yields and later maturity, making it our recommended variety. Learn more about FiXatioN.

Balansa Clover Specifications

Balansa Clover Specifications

Planting
zonesZones 8 and 9
annual/perennial/biennialAnnual
ease of establishmentPoor
seed/lb500,000
seeding rate straight5-8 lbs/ac
seeding rate mix3-5 lbs/ac
seeding timeAutumn (September-November)
seeding depth1/4 - 3/8 inch
seeding methodBroadcast or drilled (preferred)
method of killing/suppressionMowing; grazing; chemical
optimal germination temperatureNight temperatures >50 F
seedling emergence/vigorPoor
reseeding potentialGood
root typeTap
Usage
grazing potentialGood
hay potentialGood
use with wildlifeGood
use in orchardsGood
use with row cropsGood
use with other grasses/legumesGood
Bees/benefitial insectsHigh
compaction controlGood
erosion controlGood
weed suppression potentialGood
green manure/cover crop useExcellent
spreading capabilityGood
N contribition potentialGood
DM potentialHigh
Forage qualityGood
harvest time frame (late/early/year round)Late
number of harvest/yrup to 3 harvests
other commentsBroad environmental adaptation, tolerance of waterlogging and salinity, rapid spring growth.
Tolerance
bloat riskHigh
disease susceptibilityModerate
insect/nematode ristkModerate
cold toleranceFair
traffic toleranceGood
heat toleranceGood
drought toleranceFair
shade toleranceGood
dry soil toleranceFair
wet soil toleranceHigh
pH rangeBroad pH range; 4.5-8.0
required fertility (P,K, other nutrients)Moderate to high fertilty is best especially for P and K