Pasture mixtures of tall fescue and a legume delivered forage yields and steer gains equal to those from pure tall fescue fertilized with nitrogen.

That was from a Utah State University study in which researchers grew alfalfa-fescue and birdsfoot trefoil-fescue and compared them with fescue-only with and without nitrogen fertilizer. Angus cross steers were rotated to new paddocks at seven-day intervals throughout the growing season. They were weighed every 28 days, and forage samples were collected from each paddock just prior to grazing.

Dry matter forage yields for alfalfa-fescue, birdsfoot trefoil-fescue and fescue plus nitrogen were 4,687, 4,942 and 5,062 lbs/acre, respectively. Average daily steer gains were 1.4 lbs/day for fescue plus alfalfa, 1.6 lbs/day for fescue plus trefoil and 1.5 lbs/day for fescue plus nitrogen. Forage yields and steer gains were significantly lower for paddocks where pure tall fescue wasn’t fertilized