After a worldwide search for germplasm and a decade of testing and development, potentially game-changing FIXatioN Balansa Clover is being commercially released by Salem-based Grassland Oregon, a pioneer in the research, development and promotion of forage and cover crops.
 
“We created FIXatioN to address a number of farmers’ and ranchers’ concerns and the result is a cover crop and forage that outperforms all other clovers in hardiness, biomass, nutrient fixing and crude protein levels,” said Jerry Hall, co-founder of Grassland Oregon.
 
FIXatioN Balansa clover is a small-seeded annual legume that features rapid germination and vast quantities of biomass.  Individual plants can exceed ten feet in length; however, the plant structure is only able to support three feet of vertical growth.  The biomass produced completely shades the ground, smothering the majority of weed and crop species.  In Oregon field trials, FIXatioN was able to outgrow and smother rogue daikon radish plants that had not winter-killed.
 
The plant’s deep tap roots also contribute to long-term soil health and conservation, creating channels for rainfall to penetrate deep into the soil, breaking up compacted soil and preventing erosion.
 
FIXatioN is an excellent source of protein for livestock, deer and waterfowl, yielding high crude protein levels ranging from 22-28.4% with relative feed values as high as 277.  And, as the plant matures, it produces blossoms that are very attractive to pollinators.
 
In well-established fields, the clover can withstand multiple cuttings (yielding as much as 2.5 tons of extremely digestible drymatter per cutting) and intensive grazing regimens.  Single cuttings in June have yielded more than 5 tons of dry matter. The plants retain actively growing leaves from the tip of the stem to the rosette at the soil surface, allowing for better recovery than Crimson, Arrowleaf and other annual clovers.
 
“Another economically attractive quality for ranchers is, under proper management, FIXatioN is capable of re-seeding for up to three years,” said Hall.
 
FIXatioN performs best when fall seeded and has been proven to withstand snow covering or temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit without snow.  It also performswell on both acid and alkaline soils (pH 4.5 to 8.3) and on waterlogged soils.
 
Other applications of FIXatioN include silage (by itself, with small grains or in rotation with corn silage).
 
“Grassland Oregon is committed to developing new and diverse solutions to farmers’ and ranchers’ growing concerns, so we’re excited at the potential that this variety has as a rotation crop in the world’s corn, wheat and rice areas, and as forage everywhere,” said Hall.