‘Multi Beneficiary Producer’, Eco-environmental friendly, Self-sustaining, Climate resistant plant.
Once one becomes aware of all the magnificent qualities of this plant its hard not to get excited about it. One of the first things asked is “why haven’t I heard about it before?”. There are several answers to that question. The first and most important is that it is difficult to get established. The second is that it doesn’t like much water, traditionally many agricultural areas receive too much annual rainfall. Third, its output as a forage product doesn’t always match other forage product yields. Fourth, no one knows about it. So why be interested in it?
Currently its considered that where ever you can grow Alfalfa, you can grow Sainfoin. Before receiving the information from Dr. Mueller-Harvey I was aware there were five to six principle varieties of Sainfoin being worked on here stateside, derived from around 50 different species. I was surprised to find out that in Europe/Asia there are over three hundred varieties! The plant can be adapted to different areas. (hmmm, why not here?)
Hay and other forage crops are primarily a one product yield. Often they are water consumers besides adding to the worlds ‘carbon load’ by the need for chemical use. Soil/water conservation are issues with many of these forage crops.
Sainfoin has been found to directly combat and resist what our other forage products can’t. Even more importantly it is a ‘MULTI PRODUCT’ producer, not just exceptional forage for animals. It produces ‘Honey’ and pollen which also produces ‘Bee’s’, besides food for other pollinator species. Its seed is nutritious for birds.
We have the first test plot on the farm here. We’d started it this last fall. Although it is normally planted in the spring, documentation provides it can also be planted in the fall. By the end of November it was coming up great. The plant is known to be frost resistant. Unfortunately sub-zero temperatures are a different thing, especially on shoots. Fortunately, we do at this time have some ‘survivor stock’ sprouting. Our soil is not the kind that is conducive to growing alfalfa, so it will be interesting to see how this experiment works out. Meantime we do have two other farmers starting it on ground where alfalfa can be grown. Both are putting in a couple acres, we will be following up with news on that as things progress.
I am working on furnished all the information I have to date on this marvelous plant in the sub categories of this page, not just for the use of our local people, also for the people of our earth. I will be adding to it as more information becomes available and while figuring out some of the bugs preventing me from getting some this info up on the site.