Use a method (i.e. Casler, and D.C. West. 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. 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. Harrow the pasture to break up manure, old hay piles, etc. To begin, fall grazing or mowing down to a 2-inch height will slow regrowth of the existing stand in the spring. Birdsfoot trefoil is less successful due to slow establishment. Crop Sciences Department, Urbana, IL. 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. Overseeding the Little Hay Field crslyrn. A 60% to 70% frost seeding establishment rate has been reported by many farmers (Undersander, 2006). This keeps the seed from germinating until there is a good moisture supply early in the spring. Reducing competition from the existing stand will help the new seedlings establish. White Clover- This is a low-growing short lived perennial. Recommended Hay and Pasture Forages for Michigan . If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) is a cool-season grass that originated in southern Europe.It is sometimes called Italian ryegrass. It is important to determine the reason behind the need for reseeding. 2150 Beardshear Hall manent pasture or hayfield, producers have to decide which cool-season grass to use. 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. Undersander, D.J., M.D. Red and white clovers are the most effective for establishment (Callan, 2010). (Bonus points for finding lost shoes, fly masks and halters!) 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,,, Frost seeding is an economical method of improving pasture and hay fields by broadcasting the seed on frozen ground. Frost seeding of forages. This timing works well in areas that receive good snow cover and do not experience prolonged winter thaws. Interseeding is normally done from mid-March through early May, when soil moisture and temperature are more suitable for rapid seedling establishment. Frost seeding involves spreading forage seed on existing pastures during the late winter or very early spring while the ground is still frozen. A no-till drill can also be used but this will increase the number of trips across the field. However, take care to avoid overgrazing which can result in young seedlings being consumed before adequate establishment. "When it's time to plant, drill the seed and wait for the rain. All of these forages can be used success-fully for hay. Frost seeding does not work on sandy soils where there is no swelling and shrinking associated with the freeze-thaw cycle. Introduced Heather Darby, University of Vermont Extension. Broadcast your seed, then roll it with a cultipacker (that's the roller w/o teeth)BTW, october is too late to plant alfalfa. 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. Interseeding research has been conducted in many parts of the U.S. and around the world. You'd be better off waiting until spring for the alfalfa seed. This is the best way to see where there has been winterkill, mold, bare spots, and dirt tunnels made by field mice while underneath the snow. Close grazing in the fall or spring, ahead of interseeding, will help to reduce sod competition. 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. If seeded as a mixture, this difference in seed weight will result in alternating strips of grass and legume plants. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification. Lack of moisture is no reason to put off fall pasture seeding, says Rob Kallenback, University of Missouri forage specialist. 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. Available at: Rankin, M. 2011. University of Illinois Extension & Outreach Illinois Agronomy Handbook Chapter 6. One common misconception about frost seeding is that spreading the seed on top of snow works best. The repeated freezing and thawing will cause some of the seed to fall into soil cracks and germinate. Kim Cassida and Phil Kaatz . Hay. Because ryegrass is longer-lived, a third application of 40 to 50 lbs. I plant every year, and have had only a couple of minor failures. As the ground freezes and thaws, it opens and closes allowing the seed to be incorporated into the soil. When you get rain, you'll have grass. Interseeding can be accomplished with relatively few field operations. Thin, low-producing, grass sod might best be improved by interseeding a grass legume mixture. Contact herbicides are sometimes also used to temporarily further reduce competition from plants present in the stand. 2001. Interseeding offers an opportunity for improving pasture productivity too. Red clover has been the Iowa forage species of choice for frost seeding. Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished Most legumes need good drainage, pH, fertility and species-specific harvest management for pasture halage or hay. Photo credit: Jon Zirkle, Michigan State University Extension. 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. He also says that overseeding in alfalfa, either with another forage or more alfalfa, is never a good idea. A number of drills are available that can be used in sod-seeding efforts. The main advantage to frost seeding is the ability to establish desirable species into an undisturbed sod at a low per acre cost. 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 (800) 262-3804, Iowa State University 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. Therefore, seeding the species separately will result in a more even distribution of grasses and legumes. Opening of the grass sod, shallow seed placement, and seed coverage are required. Frost seeding can be an effective and inexpensive method to improve the quality and quantity of forage. State & National Extension Partners. Alfalfa does not frost seed well because its germination is variable at cool temperatures. 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. Test your soil to determine pH and nutrient levels. Subscribe to receive email alerts when new information is posted. 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. A second application of 40 to 50 lbs. This has been an unusual end to the winter, so as soon as the snow melts, frost seeding can begin. The best species to select depends on the goal one has for the field. Forage demand/supply relationships should be evaluated in both short- and long-term plans, allowing for emergency periods such as drought. Legumes interseeded into grass sod should increase pasture yield, improve forage quality, and eliminate or minimize need for nitrogen fertilizer. ISU Extension and Outreach Frost seeding is a popular option to improve forage yield and quality of pasture and hay land. Wisconsin research showed the effects of autotoxicity to be greater in no-till fields than those moldboard plowed. 2009. Frost seeding involves spreading forage seed on existing pastures during the late winter or very early spring while the ground is still frozen. 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 key steps to success include good seed-to-soil contact, early seeding at the appropriate time for your climate, proper species selection, and reducing competition. For bermudagrass, Redfearn recommends patience. Seed-to-soil contact is critical to the success of frost seeding. Available at: Undersander, D. 2006. Madison, WI. Many restoration projects are completed in the summer and require fall seeding. This process for evaluating forage supply and ... spring, summer, fall or winter, depending on their management. Overseeding of pasture or hay land with cool season annual legumes and grasses and with perennial legumes can be made much later in sod than in prepared seedbeds because the existing sod provides protection for the developing seedlings during the winter. 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). Alternatives to seeding with machinery exist. Available at: Morrison, J. Typical winter annual species developing legume seedlings. 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 success of frost seeding establishment c… Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. Use only labeled herbicides for sod suppression, and follow label instructions. Drills vary in their effectiveness based on ability to penetrate sod, provide uniform seed depth and metering, and ability to cover furrow. However, be aware that rapid snow melt can cause the seed to be washed off the pasture. the author is required. This is more effective and more safely done without snow cover. Reseeding can be necessary to increase nutritional value, eradicate weeds, fill in bare spots, and improve the stand after disease problems or poor management. In fact, planting should be delayed until about October 15 th in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont. 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. The spring growth is allowed to grow to the late boot/early heading stage and then harvested as hay. 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. * March and early April are generally a good time to overseed as long as you have several days of thawing and freezing. Stay away from Fescue in hayfield I only know of one horse person that has fescue on purpose. The success of frost seeding establishment can be increased by following the key steps outlined below. Frost seeding forages into established pastures. 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. Virginia Cooperative Extension bulletin, Culpeper County, VA. 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. A seeding delay into late spring to improve growing conditions often also leads to a greater competition from the existing grass sod. pasture, crop aftermath, hay and grain produced for feed. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomist. Although not always necessary, cattle (through tromping) or disking can improve soil-to-seed contact. Balance your soil as needed with fertilizer and/or lime. without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Integrated Crop Management News, Frost seeding works best with legumes and grasses that germinate fast and at cool temperatures. 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. This article was originally published on March 6, 2019. The main advantage to frost seeding is the ability to establish desirable species into an undisturbed sod at a low per acre cost. Equipment limitations for sod seeding implements sometimes are overcome by operator experience and home shop modifications. Frost seeding. Lone Spruce farm 3,729 views. ... An attempt to bring back an old hay field - Duration: 22:51. of N per acre may be needed in early spring when ryegrass is used for late spring grazing, hay, or as a silage crop. The goal of frost seeding is to get seed on bare soil. One of the main hesitations growers have is a lack of information regarding overseeding cool-season forages into dormant grass/legume systems. 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. 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 be done over a thin layer of snow. Grass/perennial peanut mixed pasture in Calhoun County with cool season ‘Attain’ ryegrass forage no-till drilled in mid-October. University of Minnesota Extension bulletin. Invest in a soil analysis before planting. of N per acre should be applied in mid-winter to increase winter and spring forage production. The more efficient seed placement provided by a no-till drill allows many of our more productive perennial forage grasses to also be successfully established by interseeding. A 60% to 70% frost seeding establishment rate has been reported by many farmers (Undersander, 2006). Generally, fields with a thick thatch layer will not frost seed well because the seed will not easily gain contact with the soil. Frost seeding can also be done in December once growth has stopped for the year and before snowfall. Hay and pasture. It is a good option for frost seeding, so in the next month, we can spread this seed on pastures or hay fields. It is a good option for frost seeding, so in the next month, we can spread this seed on pastures or hay fields. There are some noteworthy advantages to fall seeding; however, you do have the option of seeding in the spring or in the fall. Note: Timothy and Reed Canarygrass are not recommended. When frost seeding with a broadcast seeder, make sure to first determine the effective seeding width to avoid possible overlap of seed. Areas with bare or exposed soil across a field are ideal candidates for frost seeding. contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed. Other legumes, such as white clover and birdsfoot trefoil, also can be frost seeded but with less success than red clover. Traditionally, seeding is thought of as a spring activity. Ryegrass and orchardgrass will contribute to forage yields in the seeding year while bromegrass will need a full season before plants become productive. All rights reserved. See ISU Extension and Outreach publication Interseeding and No-Till Pasture Renovation for more suggested seeding rates and guidelines. seed drill) that will place the seeds into the soil at a depth of approximately ¼” to ½”. Orchardgrass and tall fescue will provide the highest yields. Grasses hav… However, weather permitting, Tennessee farmer Cardin overseeds the bare spots in his fescue hay fields with more fescue and possibly wheat. Interseeding success depends a lot on paying attention to details, timeliness, careful management of sod completion, controlling seeding depth to no deeper than one-fourth to one-half inch, and a little bit of luck with weather. Closely grazing or mowing pastures in the fall will also help to expose the soil. In general, frost seeding does not work as well with grasses. University of New Hampshire fact sheets ‘Hay and Haylage Production with Selected Forage Species’, and ‘Pasture Production with Selected Forage 22:51. More aggressive tillage will better mix and dilute the toxins. By later cuttings the stands had recovered and all yielded well. The optimum practice is to seed early in the spring after the snow is gone but while the ground is still frozen. This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Although legumes are the most successful for this system, some grasses can also be successfully frost seeded. and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. A few well researched steps will improve the success of frost seeding. 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. Available at. Many farmers frost seed 25% of their acreage each year so that they are spreading their risk over different years. Red clover can be hard to dry for hay bloat can be a problem when grazing if there is not enough grass present. For example, if perennial weeds caused a significant reduction in the stand then the weeds must be controlled before reseeding. Freeze-thaw cycles then provide shallow coverage of the seed, which help shield from early spring rains. 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. If it is not possible for animals to be removed from the pasture for six to eight months, consider using temporary fencing and overseeding half of a pasture one year, then the other half the next. Clovers, alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil have been successfully interseeded. It is important to realize that hay … Copyright © 2020 Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Those steps, seeding rates and guidelines are available in the ISU Extension and Outreach publication Improving Pasture by Frost Seeding. In southern states, seeding should be timed with the available moisture in the area. University of Wisconsin Extension bulletin. Frost seeding is often done with seeders mounted on ATVs, or a tractor-mounted or handheld broadcast seeder (see Figure 1). Frost seeding to improve pasture quality. “I … 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. A productive pasture is contingent upon a good plan, careful management, and clear goals. Frost seeding clover with handheld broadcast seeder. Spring is the perfect time for pasture improvement. Callan, P. 2010. Frost seeding is the easiest method to add new forage legumes or grasses to pastures, and is likely the least expensive method, as well. Here are some spring jobs to think about. “It’s just good to know where you’re at,” … Since grass seed is light, it will not throw as far as heavier legume seeds when broadcast. For more information, please contact your local Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomist. Ad apted from Penn State Aronomy Facts g #32 by Mavin H.Hall r and Patriia Comrford, Pennsylvc eania State University,1992. The best candidate for frost seeding is the “run out” field. forage in spring before the warm-season grasses become productive. Recommended species and seeding rates are shown in Table 1. There are several benefits to adding legumes to pastures including higher quality forage as well as nitrogen to support grass growth. Of the grasses, perennial ryegrass and orchardgrass frost seed with the greatest success (Morrison, 2009); bromegrass has intermediate success; reed canary and timothy have the least success. Frost seeding is a popular option to improve forage yield and quality of pasture and hay land. Once the regrowth following hay harvest is 10-12 inches tall, grazing can begin. Here are some tips for pasture overseeding: * Walk fields as early in spring as possible. The information In the Mountains, the fall … Pasture and Hay for Horses’ 2002. Freeze-thaw cycles then provide shallow coverage of the seed, which help shield from early spring rains. Another option is to take a spring hay cutting before returning to full grazing. The seeds will wait. 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. Prepare your soil. 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. Periodic frost seeding will help maintain high quality forages. Photo courtesy of Daniel Leonard. Figure 1. Ames, IA 50011-2031