FIXatioN Balansa Clover: The Cover Crop and Forage that’s Exceeding Expectations

August 8, 2014
Jerry Hall
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In extensive trials, this cool-season, nitrogen-fixing annual legume has raised eyebrows, surviving brutally cold winters, tolerating a variety of soil conditions, and performing well in mixes. Trials and initial feedback on FIXatioN balansa clover (Trifolium michelianum) have us excited about its potential to be a game changer—both for cover crops and forage.

While FIXatioN proved itself in the wet and cold of the Northwest, we weren’t sure how it would handle drier conditions. We’re strong believers in not introducing a product prematurely, so we put it to the test—in Mississippi, Florida, New York, Tennessee, California, and throughout the Midwest, learning an awful lot in the process.

One of the many things we discovered was that FIXatioN is suitable for varied growing conditions. Balansa does very well in areas where other legumes just wouldn’t grow. It handles a varied pH level (4.5 − 8.0), standing water, a variety of temperatures, as well as limited rainfall conditions and moderate salinity. We’ve seen balansa outperform crimson clover in any application crimson will be grown in, and it will grow in a lot of areas that crimson can’t be grown in.

Seed grower Mike Coon of Oak Park Farm, Shedd, Oregon, says of their first season with FIXatioN, “After a fall planting, it came out of the ground, grew quickly, and handled a lot of off-and-on standing water in a heavy clay soil.”