Forage crops are grass and legume plant species that are grown for livestock feed as well as land Conservation and reclamation. It is the vegetative portion of the plant, mainly leaves and stems, which is consumed by livestock.
A cover crop is a type of plant grown primarily to suppress weeds, manage soil erosion, help build and improve soil fertility and quality, and control diseases and pests. Cover crops are usually grasses or legumes but may be comprised of other green plants.
Alfalfa is a warm season perennial legume that produces a large amount of high quality, highly palatable forage for livestock of all classes. Alfalfa develops a deep tap root which allows the plant to thrive in most climates. It is this adaptability and quality that has made alfalfa one of the most widely used of all forages. Although alfalfa is a long-lived perennial, most production stands last from 4 to 8 years due to damage by the traffic of hay equipment as the crop is harvested. Although alfalfa is most commonly planted for hay, it can be used for silage, or processed into pellets, meal or cubes.
Clovers are popular legumes grown for forage or pasture grazing as well as for wildlife feed in food plots and for their soil improving / nitrogen fixation.