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Sainfoin – Onobrychis viciifolia

Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) is a member of the pea family, and is easily recognisable with its stalked spike of bright pink flowers. Sainfoin has roots that can penetrate deep into the ground, making it more adaptable and highly suited to the dry, alkaline soils. Therefore it is a good crop for farmers to grow as it has little environmental demands and is reliable when there are times of fluctuating amouts of feed for the animals.

Sainfoin is pollinated mainly by bumble bees. It is best planted in the autumn, as with many members of the pea family and this plants seed had a hard – coat dormancy.
It is typically used for silage or hay crop with grazing aftermath.Sainfoin is a tough plant which is high yielding and drough resistant, it needs little phosphate and no nitrogen to fertilise, this means that it protects protein and is a natural anthelmintic which won’t cause bloat in livestock, as a result it produces top quality meat and milk.

Height: Up to 40cm
Flowering Time: June to Augustr
Preferred Conditions: This plant prefers to grow in neglected grasslands and chalky soil. This is often found on roadsides, quarries and grass banks.

Sainfoin - Onobrychis viciifolia