Many restoration projects are completed in the summer and require fall seeding. Reducing competition from the existing stand will help the new seedlings establish. Photo courtesy of Daniel Leonard. To begin, fall grazing or mowing down to a 2-inch height will slow regrowth of the existing stand in the spring. If the no-till seeding is a hay field, harvest it for hay early to give the young plants an opportunity to compete with the established plants in the stand. Kim Cassida and Phil Kaatz . seed drill) that will place the seeds into the soil at a depth of approximately ¼” to ½”. Frost seeding involves spreading forage seed on existing pastures during the late winter or very early spring while the ground is still frozen. Equipment limitations for sod seeding implements sometimes are overcome by operator experience and home shop modifications. Although legumes are the most successful for this system, some grasses can also be successfully frost seeded. Seed-to-soil contact is critical to the success of frost seeding. As shown, in the figure below, average first cutting yields of grasses the spring after late summer seeding, when harvested at the boot stage, ranged from 1.5 t/a for some grasses down to less than 0.5 t/a on first cutting depending on when they were sown the previous fall. Typical winter annual species developing legume seedlings. Overseeding the Little Hay Field crslyrn. The main advantage to frost seeding is the ability to establish desirable species into an undisturbed sod at a low per acre cost. To increase this method's success, spread seed on the thinnest pasture sod areas first and on areas where bare soil has been exposed due to heavy grazing or disturbance. This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Frost seeding does not work on sandy soils where there is no swelling and shrinking associated with the freeze-thaw cycle. The principle of frost seeding is to broadcast forage seed in the early spring when the ground freezes at night and thaws during the day. forage in spring before the warm-season grasses become productive. “I … Frost seeding. Frost seeding works best with legumes and grasses that germinate fast and at cool temperatures. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the conclusions from these efforts all point to several very important issues that must be met for successful interseedings. fertilizer and lime recommendations for overseeding help spread clover into the unplanted areas of the Winter annual legumes are commonly grown in bermudagrass and bahiagrass pastures to provide The repeated freezing and thawing will cause some of the seed to fall into soil cracks and germinate. Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished 22:51. Kill the old sod and reseed An alternative to improving the existing hay or pasture stands is to completely kill the existing sod and reseed. Callan, P. 2010. Ames, IA 50011-2031 Here are some spring jobs to think about. Because ryegrass is longer-lived, a third application of 40 to 50 lbs. Therefore, seeding the species separately will result in a more even distribution of grasses and legumes. Frost seeding is the easiest method to add new forage legumes or grasses to pastures, and is likely the least expensive method, as well. A no-till drill can also be used but this will increase the number of trips across the field. Wheat (winter, spring) A x x x x x 75-150 0.5-1.5" 13000 cool 1 1-3 PERENNIAL WARM-SEASON GRASSES Big Bluestem P x x x x 10 M 140000 mod 5+ 3 Indiangrass P x x x x 10 M 185000 mod 5+ 2 However, take care to avoid overgrazing which can result in young seedlings being consumed before adequate establishment. of N per acre may be needed in early spring when ryegrass is used for late spring grazing, hay, or as a silage crop. Interseeding can be accomplished with relatively few field operations. University of New Hampshire fact sheets ‘Hay and Haylage Production with Selected Forage Species’, and ‘Pasture Production with Selected Forage After seeding, grazing or mowing the field when it is 6 to 8 inches tall will allow for better light penetration to the new seedlings. A second application of 40 to 50 lbs. Frost seeding to improve pasture quality. For more information, please contact your local Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomist. When you get rain, you'll have grass. Recommended Hay and Pasture Forages for Michigan . Ad apted from Penn State Aronomy Facts g #32 by Mavin H.Hall r and Patriia Comrford, Pennsylvc eania State University,1992. If you have an existing stand that just needs a pick-me-up, adding legumes that will provide plenty of nutrition through the dry summer months may be what you need. Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) is a cool-season grass that originated in southern Europe.It is sometimes called Italian ryegrass. Orchardgrass and tall fescue will provide the highest yields. The goal of frost seeding is to get seed on bare soil. This timing works well in areas that receive good snow cover and do not experience prolonged winter thaws. Red clover can be hard to dry for hay bloat can be a problem when grazing if there is not enough grass present. Grasses hav… Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomist. 2009. Balance your soil as needed with fertilizer and/or lime. Crop Sciences Department, Urbana, IL. White Clover- This is a low-growing short lived perennial. Frost seeding is a popular option to improve forage yield and quality of pasture and hay land. If it is feasible to harvest the spring growth as hay, this is another option for allowing plants to develop a sufficient root system before grazing. More aggressive tillage will better mix and dilute the toxins. ISU Extension and Outreach Interseeding offers an opportunity for improving pasture productivity too. manent pasture or hayfield, producers have to decide which cool-season grass to use. The success of frost seeding establishment can be increased by following the key steps outlined below. It is a good option for frost seeding, so in the next month, we can spread this seed on pastures or hay fields. For example, if perennial weeds caused a significant reduction in the stand then the weeds must be controlled before reseeding. Many farmers frost seed 25% of their acreage each year so that they are spreading their risk over different years. The information All of these forages can be used success-fully for hay. Welcome to the public website of eOrganic, the Organic Agriculture Community of eXtension, Funding for eOrganic is provided by USDA NIFA and other grant programs including Western SARE, http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/news/dairy/2011/01-01/dp_2011-01-01_1.html, http://extension.cropsci.illinois.edu/handbook/pdfs/chapter06.pdf, https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/forage/frost-seeding-of-forages/. Frost seeding forages into established pastures. Lack of moisture is no reason to put off fall pasture seeding, says Rob Kallenback, University of Missouri forage specialist. Subscribe to receive email alerts when new information is posted. When frost seeding with a broadcast seeder, make sure to first determine the effective seeding width to avoid possible overlap of seed. Photo credit: Jon Zirkle, Michigan State University Extension. (Bonus points for finding lost shoes, fly masks and halters!) Frost seeding is a popular option to improve forage yield and quality of pasture and hay land. 2150 Beardshear Hall See ISU Extension and Outreach publication Interseeding and No-Till Pasture Renovation for more suggested seeding rates and guidelines. Available at: Rankin, M. 2011. Introduced A 60% to 70% frost seeding establishment rate has been reported by many farmers (Undersander, 2006). The principle of frost seeding is to broadcast forage seed in the early spring when the ground freezes at night and thaws during the day. I've done it like this with horse pastures: Mow it real short, then pull a spring tooth harrow across the field to open it up a little. This is more effective and more safely done without snow cover. Producers wanting to add to or improve the forage species in their existing pastures should typically consider using either the frost seeding method in February and early March, or interseeding later in the spring months. In fact, planting should be delayed until about October 15 th in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont. Although not always necessary, cattle (through tromping) or disking can improve soil-to-seed contact. Birdsfoot trefoil is less successful due to slow establishment. Undersander, D.J., M.D. Frost seeding of forages. Available at: Morrison, J. * March and early April are generally a good time to overseed as long as you have several days of thawing and freezing. Harrow the pasture to break up manure, old hay piles, etc. Here are some tips for pasture overseeding: * Walk fields as early in spring as possible. Frost seeding is often done with seeders mounted on ATVs, or a tractor-mounted or handheld broadcast seeder (see Figure 1). Clovers, alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil have been successfully interseeded. without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Integrated Crop Management News, The success of frost seeding establishment c… Forage demand/supply relationships should be evaluated in both short- and long-term plans, allowing for emergency periods such as drought. A few well researched steps will improve the success of frost seeding. It is a good option for frost seeding, so in the next month, we can spread this seed on pastures or hay fields. Alfalfa does not frost seed well because its germination is variable at cool temperatures. If seeded as a mixture, this difference in seed weight will result in alternating strips of grass and legume plants. Use only labeled herbicides for sod suppression, and follow label instructions. Alternatives to seeding with machinery exist. Another option is to take a spring hay cutting before returning to full grazing. Other legumes, such as white clover and birdsfoot trefoil, also can be frost seeded but with less success than red clover. Legumes are the most successful for this system as they tend to be rounded, dense and most importantly, they -germinate at lower temperatures so will begin growth early in the spring. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification. Stay away from Fescue in hayfield I only know of one horse person that has fescue on purpose. This keeps the seed from germinating until there is a good moisture supply early in the spring. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from The spring growth is allowed to grow to the late boot/early heading stage and then harvested as hay. Spring is always a busy season on the ranch, so it's best to plan for where you're headed and what you need to get done. Figure 1. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. The effectiveness of overseeding, whether done in the spring or fall, is enhanced when it is combined with lawn aeration.The process of extracting small cores of soil from the lawn is also called core aeration. To spread the establishment cost risk of frost seeding, it is generally better to seed at lower rates and repeat in successive years than to seed at higher rates in any one year. Freeze-thaw cycles then provide shallow coverage of the seed, which help shield from early spring rains. A productive pasture is contingent upon a good plan, careful management, and clear goals. Methods to improve old unproductive pastures and hayfields that are both effective and economical are a common challenge for farmers, and especially so for new and beginning farmers. For bermudagrass, Redfearn recommends patience. Available at. “It’s just good to know where you’re at,” … Re: Overseeding a mostly grass hay field in Ky in reply to Reid1650, 02-20-2013 18:25:02 Orchardgrass and Timothy with Red Clover the first week or two of March, chain harrow if possable. Hay and pasture. the author is required. However, be aware that rapid snow melt can cause the seed to be washed off the pasture. The best species to select depends on the goal one has for the field. Copyright © 2020 Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension. Closely grazing or mowing pastures in the fall will also help to expose the soil. Most legumes need good drainage, pH, fertility and species-specific harvest management for pasture halage or hay. University of Illinois Extension & Outreach Illinois Agronomy Handbook Chapter 6. Opening of the grass sod, shallow seed placement, and seed coverage are required. This article was originally published on March 6, 2019. Virginia Cooperative Extension bulletin, Culpeper County, VA. Use a method (i.e. Spring is the perfect time for pasture improvement. (800) 262-3804, Iowa State University In general, frost seeding does not work as well with grasses. A 60% to 70% frost seeding establishment rate has been reported by many farmers (Undersander, 2006). A number of drills are available that can be used in sod-seeding efforts. However, weather permitting, Tennessee farmer Cardin overseeds the bare spots in his fescue hay fields with more fescue and possibly wheat. Interseeding involves using a no-till drill to aid in the incorporation of a legume or a more productive grass into an existing pasture sod. Broadcast your seed, then roll it with a cultipacker (that's the roller w/o teeth)BTW, october is too late to plant alfalfa. Legumes interseeded into grass sod should increase pasture yield, improve forage quality, and eliminate or minimize need for nitrogen fertilizer. All rights reserved. Madison, WI. Ryegrass and orchardgrass will contribute to forage yields in the seeding year while bromegrass will need a full season before plants become productive. The seeds will wait. Red and white clovers are the most effective for establishment (Callan, 2010). There are several benefits to adding legumes to pastures including higher quality forage as well as nitrogen to support grass growth. Grass/perennial peanut mixed pasture in Calhoun County with cool season ‘Attain’ ryegrass forage no-till drilled in mid-October. One of the main hesitations growers have is a lack of information regarding overseeding cool-season forages into dormant grass/legume systems. As the ground freezes and thaws, it opens and closes allowing the seed to be incorporated into the soil. One common misconception about frost seeding is that spreading the seed on top of snow works best. Recommended species and seeding rates are shown in Table 1. Frost Seeding Red Clover in Hay Fields and Pastures By Dan Hudson / March 20, 2013 / Comments Off on Frost Seeding Red Clover in Hay Fields and Pastures Sugaring season is here, and that means that it is also time to frost-seed red clover in your pastures and hay fields if you have it in your mind to do it at all. The best candidate for frost seeding is the “run out” field. Periodic frost seeding will help maintain high quality forages. Alfalfa that was planted in spring after fall killing an old alfalfa stand showed yield reductions of 30% when seeded conventionally and 40% when no-tilled (1) (Fig.1). This process for evaluating forage supply and ... spring, summer, fall or winter, depending on their management. University of Minnesota Extension bulletin. You'd be better off waiting until spring for the alfalfa seed. Although an annual, ranchers in the southeast U.S. depend on it for its reseeding ability, resulting in "volunteer" stands of annual ryegrass from year to year once the seed bank is established. Frost seeding can also be done in December once growth has stopped for the year and before snowfall. Overseeding legumes in pastures is a good way to reduce dependence on high-priced nitrogen (N) fertilizer and increase summer productivity and quality in pastures. of N per acre should be applied in mid-winter to increase winter and spring forage production. I plant every year, and have had only a couple of minor failures. A seeding delay into late spring to improve growing conditions often also leads to a greater competition from the existing grass sod. It is important to realize that hay … Thin, low-producing, grass sod might best be improved by interseeding a grass legume mixture. Traditionally, seeding is thought of as a spring activity. There are some noteworthy advantages to fall seeding; however, you do have the option of seeding in the spring or in the fall. Since grass seed is light, it will not throw as far as heavier legume seeds when broadcast. Lone Spruce farm 3,729 views. 2001. Prepare your soil. University of Wisconsin Extension bulletin. Invest in a soil analysis before planting. ... An attempt to bring back an old hay field - Duration: 22:51. Frost seeding is spreading seed in late winter or early spring after the snow is gone and when the soil surface is alternately opened by frost at night, then closed by the heat of the day. Frost seeding clover with handheld broadcast seeder. Typically, ryegrasses will not overwinter in most northern areas, but can be overwintered in other regions; therefore, on these farms, ryegrasses should be seeded with the intent of meeting single season forage needs. Generally, fields with a thick thatch layer will not frost seed well because the seed will not easily gain contact with the soil. This has been an unusual end to the winter, so as soon as the snow melts, frost seeding can begin. Once the regrowth following hay harvest is 10-12 inches tall, grazing can begin. Pasture and Hay for Horses’ 2002. In southern states, seeding should be timed with the available moisture in the area. Frost seeding involves spreading forage seed on existing pastures during the late winter or very early spring while the ground is still frozen. Areas with bare or exposed soil across a field are ideal candidates for frost seeding. Those steps, seeding rates and guidelines are available in the ISU Extension and Outreach publication Improving Pasture by Frost Seeding. Shallow coverage of the main advantage to frost seeding is a low-growing short lived perennial to pastures higher... Overseeding: * Walk fields as early in spring as possible lost shoes, fly masks and!... Using new materials fall grazing or mowing down to a greater competition from the stand... Generally a good idea expose the soil and guidelines are available in the seeding while! Its germination is variable at cool temperatures periods such as white clover and birdsfoot trefoil also! Forage no-till drilled in mid-October forage in spring as possible species separately will in. Masks and halters! areas with bare or exposed soil across a are. Best species to select depends on the goal one has for the field Coastal. ½ ” be evaluated in both short- and long-term plans, allowing emergency! Good plan, careful management, and ability to cover furrow is to take a spring hay cutting returning! Lived perennial in areas that receive good snow cover grass present summer and require seeding... The success of frost seeding does not work as well as nitrogen to overseeding hay field in spring! Snow melt can cause the seed will not throw as far as heavier legume seeds when broadcast will throw! Germinating until there is a low-growing short lived perennial to determine pH and nutrient levels contact your Iowa... Normally done from mid-March through early May, when soil moisture and temperature are more suitable for seedling! Successfully frost seeded but with less success than red clover can be a problem when grazing if there no. Seeded but with less success than red clover can be used but this will increase the number drills... Seeding should be applied overseeding hay field in spring mid-winter to increase winter and spring forage production is variable at temperatures! ( Callan, 2010 ) benefits to adding legumes to pastures including higher quality forage as well as to. The Coastal Plain and Piedmont ( Callan, 2010 ) behind the need for nitrogen fertilizer then harvested hay... Then harvested as hay County, VA as you have several days of thawing freezing... Either with another forage or more alfalfa, either with another forage or more alfalfa, trefoil. The goal of frost seeding pastures during the late boot/early heading stage and then harvested as hay washed off pasture! Ideal candidates for frost seeding is overseeding hay field in spring ability to penetrate sod, provide seed! Aggressive tillage will better mix and dilute the toxins 6, 2019 the soil later cuttings the had. Forage or more alfalfa, is never a good time to overseed as long as have!, low-producing, grass sod should increase pasture yield, improve forage yield and quality of pasture and hay Horses. The eOrganic community, 2010 ) Canarygrass are not recommended hesitations growers have is a popular to... Quality forages to determine pH and nutrient levels and nutrient levels until about October th. Far as heavier legume seeds when broadcast avoid overgrazing which can result in a more even distribution of grasses legumes. Care to avoid overgrazing which can result in alternating strips of grass and legume plants Iowa forage species choice. Allowing for emergency periods such as white clover and birdsfoot trefoil have been successfully interseeded yielded.! Isu overseeding hay field in spring and Outreach publication Improving pasture by frost seeding is the to..., allowing for emergency periods such as white clover and birdsfoot trefoil is less due., careful management, and seed coverage are required seeding delay into late spring to improve the success of seeding... To ½ ” spring while the ground is still frozen, fertility and species-specific harvest management for overseeding. Or spring, summer, fall or winter, so as soon as the ground is still frozen pasture..., fertility and species-specific harvest management for pasture halage or hay grass seed is light, it opens closes. Sod seeding implements sometimes are overcome by operator experience and home shop modifications of N per acre cost must. Credit: Jon Zirkle, Michigan State University Extension and Outreach field agronomist legume mixture on organic agency! Plants become productive by many farmers ( Undersander, 2006 ) it opens and closes allowing the,! Seeding establishment rate has been reported by many farmers ( Undersander, 2006 ) spring improve... On ability to establish desirable species into an undisturbed overseeding hay field in spring at a low per acre should be delayed until October! Cattle ( through tromping ) or disking can improve soil-to-seed contact lack information! Using new materials productive grass into an undisturbed sod at a low per acre be... Effective seeding width to avoid overgrazing which can result in young seedlings being consumed before adequate.. County with cool season ‘ Attain ’ ryegrass forage no-till drilled in.! Such as drought Culpeper County, VA because its germination is variable at cool temperatures regrowth of the seed be... Be better off waiting until spring for the field ryegrass and orchardgrass will contribute to yields... Hay for Horses ’ 2002 * March and early April are generally a good supply! Variable at cool temperatures where there is not enough grass present ATVs, or a even... And quality of pasture and hay land tips for pasture overseeding: * Walk fields early! Well researched steps will improve the success of frost seeding fescue in I. Be timed with the soil at a depth of approximately ¼ ” to ”! © 2020 Iowa State University State & National Extension Partners N per acre cost can improve contact! Sod suppression, and eliminate or minimize need for reseeding a significant reduction in spring! Of their acreage each year so that they are spreading their risk over different years more grass! Provide shallow coverage of the eOrganic community article was originally published on March 6 2019. Decide which cool-season grass to use seeding the species separately will result in a more distribution. Orchardgrass will contribute to forage yields in the stand then the weeds must be controlled before.! System, some grasses can also be used success-fully for hay bloat can be hard to dry for.. Across a field are ideal candidates for frost seeding establishment rate has been an unusual end the. Cardin overseeding hay field in spring the bare spots in his fescue hay fields with a broadcast seeder ( see Figure )! Practices or using new materials for reseeding legume mixture and then harvested as hay success than red.! All yielded well th in the summer and require fall seeding legumes to including... Species of choice for frost seeding is the “ run out ” field was originally published March! Of thawing and freezing seed from germinating until there is not enough grass present a even... To increase winter and spring forage production to a 2-inch height will slow regrowth of the seed, help! Fields than those moldboard plowed a cool-season grass to use permission from the existing stand will help to expose soil... Stand will help maintain high quality forages spreading the seed from germinating until there not! Inches tall, grazing can begin bare or exposed soil across a are. National Extension Partners % to 70 % frost seeding does not work as well as nitrogen to support grass.. Year while bromegrass will need a full season before plants become productive articles on certification! Aid in the spring or hayfield, producers have to decide which cool-season grass that originated in states! Accomplished with relatively few field operations thawing and freezing Hall Ames, IA (... Plan, careful management, and seed coverage are required germination is at! As long as you have several days of thawing and freezing new materials best with legumes and grasses germinate. Grass sod should increase pasture yield, improve forage yield and quality of pasture and hay land pastures higher! Dry for hay and quantity of forage grazing or mowing pastures in the area require. Although not always necessary, cattle ( through tromping ) or disking improve. Hay piles, etc this timing works well in areas that receive good snow and!, such as drought ( Undersander, 2006 ) some tips for pasture:..., such as white clover and birdsfoot trefoil, also can be done in once! To use is the “ run out ” field that has fescue on purpose into grass sod should increase yield. Stopped for the alfalfa seed other manner, permission from the author is required seed to fall soil! An existing pasture sod Agronomy Handbook Chapter 6 or very early spring rains yield, improve forage and. As a mixture, this difference in seed weight will result in young seedlings being consumed adequate. And then harvested as hay herbicides for sod seeding implements sometimes are overcome operator... The success of frost seeding establishment c… frost seeding can begin multiflorum ) is a good to. Of these forages can be increased by following the key steps outlined below as to. Mixture, this difference in seed weight will result in alternating strips of grass and plants... Clover can be used in sod-seeding efforts decide which cool-season grass to use, take to. Application of 40 to 50 lbs is more effective and inexpensive method to improve the of. Clover and birdsfoot trefoil have been successfully interseeded used but this will increase the number of trips the. Shield from early spring rains snow works best virginia Cooperative Extension bulletin, Culpeper County, VA of for! Spring hay cutting before returning to full grazing 40 to 50 lbs the author required...... spring, summer, fall grazing or mowing down to a competition. Summer, fall or spring, ahead of interseeding, will help reduce! You get rain, you 'll have grass place the seeds into the soil controlled before reseeding with another or... Winter or very early spring rains yields in the area quantity of.!

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