Sweet clover has long been recognized as a valuable forage plant in the West, but in arid land it will not grow without irrigation. In many sections where irrigation is practiced and the water carries the seed into the alfalfa fields it is regarded as a weed; but in the Great Plains region in the states of Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South and North Dakota extensive areas have become seeded with sweet clover. In Nebraska there are many scattered fields. In the eastern part of the sandhill district it has greatly improved the quality of the soil and increased the yield of hay. Since its introduction there has been an increase both in the quantity and quality of the honey. Sweet clover is adapted practically to all sections of Kansas, and in 1923 there were 48,000 acres under cultivation.
In South and North Dakota the future of sweet clover is believed to be of great promise. The sweet clover section extends more than 200 miles north of Sioux City, Iowa, and is rapidly spreading northward and westward. It is estimated that it will soon cover thousands of farms in the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana, and that this region will support thousands of colonies of bees and produce honey by the million pounds. The opportunities for beekeeping in South and North Dakota deserve careful consideration. In Colorado, on the western slope of the mountains, sweet clover grows vigorously and thrives in soils where alfalfa formerly died out on account of the alkali. It was extensively planted by the farmers, and large areas were reclaimed and rendered suitable for growing alfalfa. It was the history of sweet clover on the western slope that led to its introduction throughout the state. In the irrigated section surrounding Ferron, Utah, there are many farmers who are enthusiastic in its praise, and a large part of the land is devoted to this crop. It not only improves the poor soil but is considered in feeding value nearly equal to alfalfa. Throughout the Rocky Mountain region the onward march of afalfa and sweet clover offer much new bee territory, which will not be overstocked for a long time.
Annual White Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba, variety). Hubam clover. A few years ago the Iowa Agricultural College secured some 500 different lots of the seed of the common white sweet clover for trial, which were planted in greenhouses in January, 1916. All of the seed was supposed to belong to the common biennial (or two-year) white species. But about the first of March a few very large plants were observed by H. D. Hughes, in charge of the Farm Crops Section, which came from one special lot of seed. They were far superior in appearance to the other plants, and were nearly ready to bloom in less than three months from the time of seeding. By the middle of March they were 3 to 4 1/2 feet tall and most of them were in full bloom, while the common biennial sweet clover was less than one foot high. There were 22 plants in this original lot, and they yielded enough seed in the greenhouse to grow a short row for each plant. They were not exactly alike, but varied in height and time of maturity. This seed was planted in the field the same year (1916), about the middle of June, and a thin seeding of oats was made with it. Other clovers were also planted at the same time for comparison. The oats were cut when the “heads were in the milk” without injuring the clover. The annual sweet clover plants were then about six inches tall. They now grew rapidly; and, like the 22 plants in the greenhouse, the seedlings differed greatly in height and time of blooming. A part bloomed 2 1/2 months after seeding, while others required 3 1/2 months. At 3 1/2 months the best strain had reached a height of 4 1/2 feet. During the same time the biennial, or common sweet clover, had grown only 12 to 14 inches, and the yellow sweet clover only 8 to 10 inches. Medium red clover, planted at the same time as the annual sweet clover, made a growth of only 3 to 5 inches, while the annual sweet clover grew 3 to 4 1/2 feet. (Fig. 112.)
As soon as the plants had matured they were pulled and carefully examined. The root growth was found to be large and vigorous, but entirely different from that of the biennial sweet clover. The biennial at the close of the first season has a strong, large, succulent tap-root, much like that of the parsnip. At the top of this root about an inch below the surface of the ground there is a crown with 5 to 50