Aeschynomene is a warm season legume also known as "Joint-Vetch" or "Deer-Vetch." Aeschynomene is a high protein ingredient for Spring, Summer, and Fall food plots for wildlife. The plants can reach between 3 and 6 feet in height at maturity. Aeschynomene grows much better in low bottom areas where the moisture is commonly found. Aeschynomene is considered one the easiest to establish and highest protein ingredients for all wildlife food plots.
- Warm-season annual legume
- Adapted to moist flat-wood areas
- Popular for cattle planting and wildlife food plots
- Very palatable to cattle and deer
Excellent source of protein
Aeschynomene is hulled & coated with inoculant as a more convenient option for the user. The inoculant is compiled of rhizobacteria, which fixes itself to the root nodules, and promotes nitrogen and phosphorus production causing optimal plant health, and extends the lifespan of the legume.
Aeschynomene Americana, or Common Aeschynomene, is a true annual that flowers and produces seed in the early fall; plants usually die after seed has matured. It grows best on moist, fertile soils, with surface drainage.
Aeschynomene is not recommended for hay and silage due to high moisture and mucilaginous.
Lime and Fertilizer
If the soil pH is below 5.0, the site should be limed to raise the pH to between 5.5 and 6.0. Plant nutrients should be applied after a successful stand of seedlings has emerged. After the seedlings are 2 weeks old, fertilize with 30 lbs/A of P2O5 and 60 lbs/A of K2O if the soil tests are low or medium in these plant nutrients. Micronutrients are not generally recommended on land that has been fertilized for several years, unless poor plant growth and appropriate symptoms indicate a deficiency.
Seed of common aeschynomene may be bought with the hull removed (naked) or intact. There are approximately twice as many seed per pound when the hull has been removed compared to when the hull is attached. Seed with the hull removed may be planted at 5 to 8 lbs/A. If seeded with a precision planter on a clean-tilled seedbed, the lower seeding rate may be used. Broadcast seeding requires the higher seeding rate, especially when seed are broadcast on established pasture sod.
Seeding date can be critical to successful establishment. Aeschynomene is usually planted in June when the summer rains start. It has been planted successfully in April and May when spring rainfall has been above normal. Try to plant to establish new stands or lightly disk old stands to encourage seed germination when the chances are greatest for continued good soil moisture. Stand failure of aeschynomene is mainly caused by inadequate soil moisture at or shortly after seeding.
The greatest chance for successful establishment occurs when plantings are made in June after a spring when rainfall has been greater than normal and the soil profile is saturated. When seedings are made prior to June 1 or the start of the summer rainy period, use seed with the hulls attached at the rate of 25 lbs/A. Immediate germination will range from 5 to 10%. If these seedlings die due to drought, there will be plenty of seed to germinate when the next rain comes. When planting after June 1, use seed with the hull removed, which may have an immediate germination as high as 90 to 95%. Use 5 lbs/A on a clean-tilled seedbed and 8 lbs/A on sod. A 50/50 mixture of seed with and without hulls can be used at all times of planting to provide security against establishment failures due to drought or short periods of excessive moisture
Certain management practices should be followed to minimize competition of the bahiagrass with the aeschynomene seedlings and allow for successful establishment. These practices include: 1) burning excess bahiagrass in late winter if there is enough fuel to carry a fire; 2) no application of nitrogen during the spring preceding planting of the aeschynomene; 3) removal of excess bahiagrass before seeding by grazing close (2 to 4 inches); 4) close grazing and chopping or disking are useful to reduce bahiagrass competition when soil moisture is plentiful; and 5) continued grazing after seeding until the aeschynomene seedlings are about 2 inches tall. Remove cattle before they graze the tops of the seedlings. Allow the aeschynomene plants to reach a height of 12 to 18 inches before grazing. If self re-seeding of the stand or seed production of common aeschynomene is contemplated, then cattle must be removed from pasture from mid- August through November of the year of establishment to allow the crop to flower and set seed. This kind of spelling is not required for evenia which flowers and seeds throughout the year. Chopping or light-disking of pasture in spring every couple of years promotes regeneration of aeschynomene from soil seed-bank reserve.
Various seeding methods and types of seeders can be used. Sod-seeding drills are useful and result in less soil moisture loss from the soil surface as compared to broadcast methods where light disking or chopping, seeding and rolling are used to obtain seed-to-soil contact. Regardless of the method used, seed should be placed at 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep.
Rotational grazing is recommended when plants reach a height of 18 inches. A stocking rate of 2 to 5 animal units per acre has been suggested. Graze the plants back to about 8 to 14 inches and move to the next pasture. Maintaining a 14-inch stubble will allow for maximum regrowth and good seed production.