This fact sheet summarizes information about three legume alternatives to alfalfa — birdsfoot trefoil, sainfoin and cicer milkvetch — and outlines characteristics of each, including:
- Recovery after use
- Forage quality and palatability
- Advantages and adaptations
- Management considerations
As well as other adaptations, birdsfoot trefoil, sainfoin and cicer milkvetch have moderate to high tolerance to drought. Birdsfoot trefoil also tolerates the other end of the spectrum: seasonal flooding or saturated soil. Sainfoin and cicer milkvetch have high winter hardiness and stand longevity.
This forage fact sheet was developed during a project with ranchers in the Peace region. The project identified nutrient or cropping management practices that could improve the resilience of forage production to climate change extremes.