Forage mixtures containing legume out-yield monocultures, fix atmospheric nitrogen, and have lower carbon footprints. However, evidence-based information on creating forage mixtures by direct seeding legumes into existing pastures is limited, and information on bloat-free legumes is nonexistent. Traditionally, pastures requiring improvement in western Canada were fully replaced by breaking up the old stand and reseeding. With new and improved forage cultivars, better seeding equipment, and increased knowledge about pasture management, there is a growing interest among producers in rejuvenating pastures instead of replacing them. Pasture rejuvenation refers to the improvement in biomass productivity and (or) nutritional quality of existing pasture without removing the existing vegetation. This can be done through fertilizer application, which is generally expensive and causes negative environmental impacts. Amelioration of compacted pastureland via mechanical aeration is short-lived and can lead to weed problems. As an alternative, direct seeding of productive, nutritive and bloat-free legume species into existing pasture is an attractive option for pasture rejuvenation. For high performance grazing systems, identification of suitable bloat-free legumes and methods for direct seeding into old grass and legume stands will be essential strategies. This review includes information on the benefits of mixed pastures and seeks possible methods of introducing bloat-free forage legumes into existing pastures in western Canada for rapid improvement in productivity and quality while positively influencing animal, soil, and environmental health.
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