Friday, January 23, 2009

Home Grown: Frost Seeding

A basic requirement for frost seeding success is to make sure that the sod cover has been opened up, and that there is not much growth present to prevent the seed from coming into contact with bare soil. Generally, a pasture is prepared for frost seeding by grazing it down hard, although some light tillage or a close mowing could also be used.

Another frost seeding method involves combining frost seeding with hoof action. Let your animals graze the paddock in early March to scuff up the soil and open up bare areas in the sod. At this point, broadcast the forage seed across the paddock. Keep the animals in the paddock another couple of days and let them continue to graze and trample or hoof in the seed. This method seems to work best with sheep because they don't trample the seed into the soil too deep.

In general, legumes tend to work better for frost seeding compared to grasses.

Legume seeds are typically heavier than grass seeds and can reach the soil level more easily. Another advantage to frost seeding a legume is that legumes 'fix' nitrogen typically in excess of their own needs. The existing plants use the excess nitrogen, which improves their quality as a feedstuff. Once legumes become established in a stand of pasture and compose 25 percent to 30 percent of the stand, there is really no need to apply supplemental nitrogen...

... continued in Home Grown

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