Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Harvest management of perennial legumes such as alfalfa, red clover, and birdsfoot trefoil requires a compromise between quality and persistence. The intensity at which these forage legumes are harvested should depend on the nutrient needs of the livestock that will be consuming the forage as well as the life expectancy of the stand. Because of sudden changes in weather and year-to-year variation in growing seasons, there is no simple rule to follow when making a decision to cut. Decisions on when to cut have to be made based on a sound understanding of how a plant grows and survives.