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Albert Lea Seed

Products Trial Data

Nitrogen Fixing

Nitrogen-fixing cover crops are an essential component of building productive, healthy soils on the farm. Through biological nitrogen fixation, leguminous cover crops provide growers with a source of plant-available nutrients. Nitrogen-fixing cover crops also protect soil from erosion, contribute to organic matter formation, reduce weed pressure, and break recurring pest and disease cycles.

Nitrogen Brand Alfalfa

  • Very high fall dormancy alfalfa (FD9)
  • Extremely fast growth for an alfalfa & fast re-growth following cutting/mowing
  • Will winterkill in the upper-Midwest
  • Fast growing and quick recovery
  • This alfalfa will grow and fix nitrogen until freeze-up
  • Very good alfalfa option for single season plowdown or hay crop
  • Seed 12-15 lbs/acre straight

Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover

  • Tall-growing, vigorous biennial clover
  • Produces abundant biomass and can fix up to 200 lbs/N/acre
  • Best drought tolerance of all plowdown legumes
  • Excellent choice for soil building on shallow or poorer soils
  • Will produce majority of biomass & N in 2nd year
  • We recommend planting YBSC in a mixture with red clover in order to avoid stand loss due to sweet clover weevil
  • Avoid cutting the first year for maximum soil building
  • Seed 8-12 lbs/acre

Mammoth Red Clover (Single-Cut)

  • Tall, single-cut red clover, will not re-grow above the height of the first cutting of the year (even if that cutting takes place incidentally at small grain harvest)
  • Rapid establishment and good biomass production
  • Can fix up to 120 lbs/N/acre
  • Avoid cutting to achieve maximum biomass 
  • Excellent choice for frost seeding into winter grains or underseeded with spring small grains
  • Seed 10-12 lbs/acre

Medium Red Clover (Double-Cut)

  • Short lived perennial that establishes quickly, non-improved varieties normally last 2-3 years in the upper-Midwest
  • Grows well in heavier soils
  • Easy to control using mechanical methods
  • Excellent choice for frost seeding into winter grains or underseeded with spring small grains
  • Will re-grow after being cut
  • Seed 10-12 lbs/acre

Crimson Clover*

  • Vigorous summer annual clover
  • Quick to establish
  • Excellent biomass production & good N fixer
  • Not frost tolerant (will winterkill in the upper-Midwest)
  • Suited for late spring or early to late summer planting
  • Avoid droughty soils
  • Seed 15-25 lbs/acre

White Dutch Clover*

  • Low growing, spreading perennial clover
  • Most often used as a 'living mulch' cover crop in vegetable operations or orchards
  • Shallow rooted and short statured
  • Tolerant of shade & field traffic
  • Not overly competitive with weeds
  • Excellent choice for irrigated, high value cropping systems
  • Avoid droughty or sandy soils
  • Seed 6-8 lbs/acre straight ; 1-3 lbs/acre in a mix

Cover Crop Soybeans

  • Summer annual legume most often used as a grain crop
  • Excellent for use as a full summer cover crop
  • Very competitive with weeds
  • Select tall, bushy, late maturing varieties for maximum biomass production & quick canopy closure
  • Drill on narrow spacing if seeding as a cover crop
  • Seed 60-100 lbs/acre

Good Soybean Varieties for Cover Cropping
Conventional                     Organic
2265                                   O.2265

4010 Field Peas

  • Viney, succulent, cool-season legume which can be used as a spring or a fall cover crop
  • Will produce abundant growth and fix moderate N once established
  • Slow to establish in the spring
  • Plant as early as possible in the spring or 6-10 weeks before freeze-up in the fall
  • Avoid overly wet soils
  • Inoculate peas for optimum production & N fixation
  • Ensure deep planting depth ; 1.5 to 3 in. deep
  • Seed 100-125 lbs/acre straight ; 50-75 lbs/acre in a mix

Austrian Winter Peas

  • Viney, fall-seeded winter annual legume
  • Excellent for use as a plowdown
  • Vigorous growth & biomass accumulation
  • Not guaranteed to be winter hardy in MN, WI, & SD
  • Plant in August-early September with small grain to ensure best winter survival 
  • Seed 50-100 lbs/acre ; 25-50 lbs/acre in a mix

Hairy Vetch*

  • Winter annual, viney legume
  • Vigorous biomass production & superior N fixer (~110 lbs/N/acre)
  • Excellent competitor with weeds 
  • Good phosphorous scavenger
  • For best winter survival success, seed with winter rye, winter wheat, or oats early in the fall
  • Great fit after small grains, silage corn, early soybeans or vegetables
  • Seed 25-35 lbs/acre straight ; 10-20 lbs/acre in a mix

Chickling Vetch*

  • Specialty chickling vetch developed to maximize green manure production 
  • Viney, large seeded legume with pea-like flowers
  • Excellent N fixer : 8-10 weeks growth can produce 80-100 lbs/N/acre
  • Very tolerant to drought & frost
  • Suitable for cut forage
  • Plant deep in early to late spring
  • Seed 60-70 lbs/acre

Berseem Clover

  • Fast-growing summer annual legume
  • Good biomass production & excellent N fixer
  • Not frost tolerant (will winterkill in the upper-Midwest)
  • Can be underseeded with tall-growing spring grains 
  • Avoid droughty soils
  • Good tonnage and feed value as a one-year hay crop 
  • Seed 10-12 lbs/acre

White Sweet Lupin

  • Cool-season cover crop legume
  • Aggressive taproot, builds soil structure deep in the profile
  • Excellent nitrogen fixation potential
  • Lupins make immobile P, Mn, and other nutrients available to the following crop
  • Plant right away in the spring and terminate at early bloom stage (~June)
  • Drill no deeper than 1 in.
  • Seed 70-120 lbs/acre


  • Summer-annual legume similar in growth habits to soybeans
  • Rapid and vigorous growth
  • Excellent drought stress tolerance
  • Faster growth and canopy closure than soybean
  • Widely adapted to varied soil types, including low fertility soils
  • Can fix up to 100-150 lbs N/acre
  • Plant after soil temperatures are >65F (Mid-June to July)
  • Seed 70-90 lbs/acre straight, 25-30 lbs/acre in a mix


  • Shorter growing, cool-season annual legume
  • Very frost and drought tolerant, will winterkill in the Upper-Midwest
  • Well adapted to semi-arid growing conditions and dry soils
  • Avoid frequently flooded or waterlogged soils
  • Excellent aerially applied species
  • Seed March-April, August 1st-September 15th
  • Drill 1 to 1 1/2 in. deep 
  • Seed 40-50 lbs/acre straight, 10-20 lbs/acre in a mix

Common Vetch*

  • Viney legume that is an annual in the Upper-Midwest
  • Pea-like flowers & compound leaves
  • Puts on good growth as a cover crop if seeded early in the fall (<Sept. 15th)
  • Excellent legume candidate for aerial application
  • Will winterkill in the Upper-Midwest; less winterhardy than Hairy Vetch
  • Plant August 1st - September 15th
  • Seed 50-60 lbs/acre straight, 20-40 lbs/acre in a mix

Sunn Hemp*

  • Tall-growing, vigorous, warm-season annual legume with tremendous biomass potential
  • Superior N-Fixing potential
  • Quick growing & loves heat, very drought tolerant
  • Has potential to put on 5,000 lbs biomass in as little as 60 days
  • Widely adapted to varied soil types including droughty sands, low fertility & low OM soils
  • Plant after soil temperatures are >65°F
  • Terminate crop at first flower to avoid development of fibrous, hard to manage stalks
  • Drill or broadcast June 1st - July 15th
  • Seed 15-20 lbs/acre straight, 4-8 lbs/acre in a mix

Balansa Clover

  • Quick establishing, cool season annual legume excellent for use as a cover crop
  • Grows up to 3' tall with hollow stems
  • Good biomass accumulation & forage quality
  • Good N-fixation potential
  • More cold tolerant than Crimson Clover
  • Can potentially overwinter in the Upper-Midwest (zone 5+)
  • Very high reseeding potential
  • Produces abundant hard seed; control or graze prior to seed set
  • Drill or Broadcast July 15th - September 15th
  • Seed 5-8 lbs/acre straight, 3-5 lbs/acre in a mix

Purple Bounty Hairy Vetch

  • Winter-hardy variety selected specifically for earlier flowering in the spring (vs. VNS)
  • Flowers up to two weeks earlier than common hairy vetch
  • Earlier flowering ideal for no-till operations and allows more rotational flexibility
  • Developed by the USDA breeding facility in Beltsville, MD
  • Excellent Nitrogen-fixation potential and biomass accumulation
  • Plant August 1st - September 15th
  • Seed 25-30 lbs/acre straight; 15-20 lbs in a mix

Icicle Winter Peas

  • Strong winter hardiness – potential for overwintering in the Upper Midwest
  • Excellent root system and high biomass production in the spring
  • Small seed with good viability; lowers seeding costs
  • White flower
  • More digestible, and sweeter tasting to livestock compared to Austrian Winter peas
  • Can be used as spring forage pea in cover crop mixes or in forage blends

Subterranean Clover*

Low Profile & Shade Tolerant

  • Annual clover that tolerates shade - perfect for under the canopy of taller plants
  • Tolerates wet conditions
  • Incredible weed suppression
  • Can be grazed (unlike hairy vetch)
  • Will winterkill in Upper Midwest: hardy in zone 7A and south
  • Fixes 70-100 pounds of nitrogen per acre
  • Can be interseeded into corn at last cultivation or can be flown on
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