Legumes can be a valuable part of a cattle feeding program. In fact, legumes can actually improve animal performance by encouraging intake, by providing greater feed efficiency and by fostering a better use of forage nitrogen content. Legumes can capture nitrogen from the air and use it for their own growth as well as for the benefit of other plants around them. The bacteria that inhabit root nodules trigger a chemical reaction to convert nitrogen gas into a form that is easily used by the plant.
Producers may find it necessary to feed more animals than anticipated during times of drought due to a number of different reasons. In such situations, additional feed requirements may partially be met by the harvesting of annual crops to supplement current hay production and carryover stocks.