Figure 1. Kura clover flowering.
Kura clover is a leafy plant with stem production occurring only in the first spring growth. During the rest of the season, all regrowth consists of leaves and petioles that originate from the crown. Plant heights of kura clover may range up to 8 inches and growth may be erect or prostrate. Kura clover produces only one flush of flowers per season, and leaflets of kura clover are usually marked with a white V. The young flower heads are green, often with thin streaks of red. Initially, flowers are white and usually turn to pink as they mature (Figure 1).
On-farm demonstration projects
There are many benefits of using a kura clover living mulch system. The mulch can decrease erosion, suppress weeds, reduce insect pests, and supply nitrogen to the cash crop. Researchers consider a kura clover living mulch system to be largely nitrogen self-sufficient and result in year-round groundcover. When compared to conventional production systems, it leaves less opportunity for weed invasion, requires less tillage, and reduces soil erosion. Therefore, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, through the Integrated Farm/Livestock Management Demonstration Program, with the assistance of Iowa State University Extension, are currently funding a large on-farm demonstration project. This project educates growers about kura clover living mulch systems for grain crop production.
In April 2004, six fields were established with kura clover in north-northeast Iowa to demonstrate this system with multiple producers under different soils and climatic conditions. The overall project goal is to expand the grower’s knowledge and awareness of alternative management system for corn and soybean that protect water quality with environmental and economic benefits. Our goals with this system are to demonstrate the effectiveness of a kura clover living mulch, compare corn and soybean yield in a kura clover living mulch compared to a traditional production system, to document reduced runoff and nitrogen availability to crops in a kura clover living mulch, and evaluate environmental and economic benefits of this alternative production system over the next 4 years.
Below are numerous presentations given at the 2 workshops that have been held over the past 3 years of this on-farm demonstration project.
2007 Kura Clover Workshop (pdf files)
Educating growers about living mulch systems for grain crop production
Role of kura cover in forage-livestock systems
Experiences with kura clover living mulch systems
Corn response to N fertilization in a kura clover living mulch system
Can cover crops improve biological control of soybean aphids?
Cover crops for midwest farming systems
2005 Kura Clover Workshop (pdf files)
Growing Kura Clover Forage in Iowa.
Utilizing Kura Clover in Pastures for Beef and Milk Production.
Corn Production in Kura Clover Living Mulch.
Soil Erosion - What Will the Future Bring?
Conservation Tillage and Cover Crops.
Living Mulches - A Pest Management Tactic?
Copyright 2003-. Palle Pedersen, Iowa State University Extension.
Please contact us with questions and comments.