Oregon Clover Industry
Clover is a key commodity in Oregon, with nearly 40,000 acres grown throughout the state. There are many varieties of clover available, but four dominate production in Oregon. These varieties include crimson, red, arrowleaf, and white or Ladino. In general, crimson, red and arrowleaf clover seed is grown in the north Willamette Valley, and white clover seed is grown in the south Willamette Valley. Oregon farmers produce about 85% of the crimson clover seed in the United States, and 75% of the red clover seed.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is a premier region for growing high quality clover seed. This is attributed to grower expertise, the moderate climate in the Willamette Valley, and a well-developed seed industry infrastructure. Growers not only have generations of experience growing clover, but are also innovative and dedicated to their craft.
Crimson, red, arrowleaf and white clover varieties all differ slightly. Crimson and arrowleaf varieties are annuals, whereas red and white varieties are perennials. Each variety has it’s own unique growing requirements and individual uses. Regardless of the type of clover, they are all harvested the same way. Clover is swathed at night, when dew is covering plants, to prevent the seed from shattering. After swathing, the seed dries in the field for roughly a week and is then harvested by a combine. Seed is transported to a state-of-the-art seed cleaning facility, where it is separated from weeds, dirt, bad seed and other unwanted particles.
Clover seed is shipped all over the United States and throughout the world as a source of high quality forage for livestock and wildlife. Farmers and gardeners have also found clover to be a valuable cover crop to improve soil health, prevent erosion and naturally provide nitrogen to plants. Other benefits of clover include reduced pest pressure and disease, as well as extended grazing in pastures.
- Clover Facts:
- Oregon is the number one producer of crimson clover in the United States
- Clover is one of the best nitrogen fixing plants available
- Clovers are palatable, high in protein and a nutritious forage for livestock and wildlife
- Honey bees pollinate clover crops and produce a highly desirable honey in the process