History and economic importance. Berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) belongs to the family Leguminosae. An important winter fodder crop, ber- seem originated in Egypt and is also called Egyptian clover. On .the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, it was first introduced in the province of Sindh in 1904. It was first cultivated in the Peshawar region in 1924, from where it moved to the irrigated tracts of the Punjab.
Now it is a major winter fodder crop and is successfully grown under irrigated conditions, and to some extent in the entire country Berseem is a multiple-harvest fodder crop rich in phosphorus and calci- um. Being palatable and readily digestible, it is relished by all animals. Its dry matter content includes 18.3% protein, 2.80% phosphorus, 2.60% calci- um, and 209 ppm carotene, a rich source of vitamin A. It has an edge over shaftal and senji in that it supplies abundant nutritious green fodder in repeated cuttings from November to May and also gives good seed return. Climate and soil. Berseem needs a moderately cool climate for good growth. Temperatures below 20°C are harmful. It is commonly cultivated in the canal-irrigated areas of the country. Berseem grows well on a wide variety of soils ranging from medium to heavy loam. It can produce good growth even in slightly alkaline soils if they have good drainage. Seedbed preparation and manuring. The land should be given two to three ploughings to make it soft and well-pulverized. Well-levelled land ensures a uniform crop stand. Since this crop fixes atmospheric nitrogen, it needs only a small dose of N as a starter. One bag of DAP per acre is an economical way to meet its fertilizer requirement. The fertilizer should be thoroughly mixed with the soil at the time of sowing. Seed rate and method of sowing. Six to eight kg of healthy seed per acre should be broadcast in standing water. To ensure kasni-free seed,put the seed in 5% NaCl solution and sieve out the floating kasni seeds.
Dr. A. R. Chaudhry is farmer Director, Fodder Research, Institute, Sargodha.