|Just because she doesn't get much respect does not mean that she is not capable of doing some heavy-lifting
Red Clover is a forage plant that does not get much respect.
Everybody has something to complain about. Red Clover is a short-lived plant and you have to keep frost-seeding it. Red Clover does not produce as much as alfalfa. Red Clover produces phytoestrogens that can impact the fertility of sheep.
On the plus side, seed is inexpensive, it is less fussy about soil than alfalfa and it frost-seeds like a dream.
One of the ironic things about Red Clover is that plant breeder's attempts to increase how long it persists after seeding unwittingly increased the phytoestrogen content of the forage.
The general way to select for longevity is to go to a field that was seeded with Red Clover ten or fifteen years ago, spray a herbicide that selectively kills the grass and then collect seeds from the Red Clover plants that somehow survived to Methuselah status.
Those phytoestrogens repel insect pests and may provide some degree of disease resistance and by selecting for longevity the researchers were also selecting for higher phytoestrogen content.
Researchers in Australia took an unusual tack. They are promoting the growing of high PE Red Clover for the herbal market. The plant is used by women approaching menopause and it (reputedly) minimizes the discomfort many women experience.
Managing Red Clover to reduce phytoestrogens
Don't try to grow pure stands of Red Clover. Frankly, Red Clover dries better for hay when grown with later-maturing grass.
There are four major phytoestrogens that are typically found in Red Clover:
Biochanin and Formononetin are typically 90% or more of the total by weight and Formononetin appears to be the most biologically active in sheep.
Select a lower Formononetin cultivar like Kenland.
Harvest your hay at a slightly later stage of maturity as the Formononetin percentage drops as the clover becomes more mature.