Onobrychis viciifolia

Onobrychis viciifolia

Sainfoin

Previous scientific name(s): Hedysarum onobrychis, Onobrychis sativa, Onobrychis viciaefolia

Sainfoin is quickly gaining popularity in the U.S. and Canada as a non-bloat forage alternative to alfalfa. Extremely palatable and highly nutritious to all types of livestock and wildlife, with digestibility equal to alfalfa. Grow for high-protein hay, pasture or silage in either pure stands or as a component of grass mixtures. Also use for habitat enhancement or in wildlife food plots. Excellent pollinator species and a superior honey plant to alfalfa.Description Introduced, perennial, nitrogen-fixing legume with stout, erect to nearly-erect, hollow, succulent stems, up to 4 ft. in height. Pink-striped flowers occur in conelike clusters on the end of long, upright stalks. Large, deep, branching taproot; also fine lateral roots. Compound, multi-foliate leaves. Large seeds in single-seeded pods. It is both drought-tolerant and winter-hardy. Neither invasive or weedy. Matures faster than alfalfa, providing early spring forage.Planting & Growing Tolerant of low phosphorus soils. Best in soils with pH ≥7. Plant ¼” – ¾” deep. About 22,000 seeds per lb (in the pod). Apply at 35 – 45 lbs/acre (pure stand, irrigated) or at ≥50% (by weight) in grass pasture mixes. Cut and bale at 10% bloom, similar to alfalfa. Species specific rhizobia inoculant available upon request.

Varieties: 
Eski

Developed and released for use in non-irrigated pastures or land with limited water. Later to mature than Remont; used more frequently in reclamation or stabilization seed mixtures in western rangelands. (Released 1964, source of ecotype: Turkey)

Remont

Extremely cold-hardy variety with early spring growth (susceptible to frost damage) and rapid regrowth after haying or grazing. High yield potential in areas with a long growing season. (Released 1971)

Shoshone

Cold-hardy variety developed for high tolerance to the northern root-knot nematode. Resistant to alfalfa stem nematode. Typically single-cut, but better regrower than Remont and Eski. Higher yield than Remont in both dryland and irrigated settings. (Released 2006)

Delany

Multiple-cut variety with excellent regrowth, best suited for use under high rainfall or irrigation. Higher forage yields under irrigation than other sainfoins, birdsfoot trefoils, cicer milkvetchs and Ladak 65 alfalfa. Tolerant of the northern root-knot nematode. Resistant to alfalfa stem nematode. (Released 2007)

Species Attributes

Height: 
- 25 
in. or taller
Precipitation: 
10 
in.
Sun & Shade Tolerance: 
Full Sun
Elevation: 
ft.

Soil Texture

Coarse: 
Not Adapted
Moderately Coarse: 
Average
Medium: 
Best
Moderately Fine: 
Average
Fine: 
Not Adapted

Soil pH

Acidic: 
Marginal
Neutral: 
Best
Basic: 
Average
Seeding Rate: 
35 
- 45 
PLS lbs/Acre
Pure Seed per Bushel: 
24.30 lbs.
Seeds per Pound: 
30,000
Planting Season: 
Spring
Germination Time: 
Days
Mycorrhizal Dependent: 
Yes
Bloat or Nonbloat: 
Nonbloat
Cold Hardiness: 
Hardy