Red Clover Variety Persistence Trial
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In response to questions about the longevity of the forage legume red clover (Trifolium pretense) in northwest Iowa, a variety trial was initiated in 2010 with a few examples of alternative red clover varieties. For a long time, red clover has been considered a shortlived (2-year) perennial, with some yield in the planting year and generally good production for one additional production year. Plants generally are lost because of a combination of root and crown diseases and winterkill. Red clover breeders have been selecting for improved plant resistance to the root/crown vascular wilt diseases, as well as northern and southern anthracnose. With improvement in anthracnose resistance has come somewhat better persistence. Several new red clover varieties are being marketed as 3- and 4-year production varieties.