Red clover is a high-production forage utilized for grazing, cut-and-carry systems, hay, and silage. Good seedling vigor, its complementary nature with other mix components and rotations, pollinator attractant qualities, ease of establishment, and high yields make it an especially attractive addition to forage systems.
Mixed stands with grasses are preferred to prevent erosion and provide forage should the clover disappear. If no-tilling, red clover is the easiest legume to be planted with quality comparable to alfalfa under similar harvest schedules. Red clover establishes rapidly and has a higher success rate when interseeding than vetches, peas, or crimson clover. More tolerant of lower soil pH, less fertility, shade, and poor drainage than alfalfa, yields are higher than other forage legumes except for alfalfa.
Intake is higher for alfalfa than red clover. However, quality does not decline as quickly, giving red clover a more prolonged harvest period for high-quality forage. 17% red clover is equivalent to 24% alfalfa in terms of protein intake.