Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia)

Cool Season

Sainfoin is a medium lived branching perennial legume that is anti-bloat. It has a good tap root that gives the plant decent drought tolerance, better than alfalfa. Yields tend to be less than alfalfa, but sainfoin retains leaves longer into the fall than alfalfa. Very palatable, animals will actually preferentially graze sainfoin over alfalfa. Salinity tolerance is moderate, as is the winter hardiness. It tends to start growing earlier in the season than alfalfa.

Seeds per pound: 18,500 Seed/sq ft/pound of seed: 0.5


  • Nitrogen builder
  • Hay source
  • Forage blends
  • Erosion control
  • Weed suppression
  • Grazing potential
  • Pollinator attractor


  • Anti-bloat
  • Drought resistance,
  • Retains leaves longer under stress and into the late fall and early winter


Can be short lived in blends.


Good. Need to allow to go to seed every two to three years to reseed itself into the forage stand. Good palatability.


Good. Moderate yields compared to alfalfa, but retains leaves longer.

Mycorrhizal support? Yes