Frost Seeding Now For a Better Pasture This Summer

Frost-seeding is one form of over-seeding, in which you can use legumes to economically and quickly thicken a pasture or a perennial hayfield in late winter. Though no-till drilling has more guarantee of success, frost seeding is an easy operation while you have time in the off season, and if managed correctly and timed properly, has good likelihood of success. Spraying, tillage, and lost grazing time does not factor into the costs as it typically does with a pasture reseeding. Clover eventually contributes to grass yield in a pasture by fixing nitrogen (if it is at least 30 percent of the stand), and many legumes can help offset the summer slump that grasses experience (as well as boost the nutritional value of the forage). Red clover has the potential to increase forage yields by 30%, and protein levels by 3-5%. It is more agronomically adaptable, and more palatable as a feed than alfalfa. Plus it’s more reliably a fast starter than alfalfa and germinates more consistently in cool temperatures. When Should I Frost Seed? There are two scenarios in which frost-seeding is appropriate: a) A pasture or hayfield is thinning and more legumes are desired. There is plenty of exposed soil and the existing stand was ideally shocked back with a close grazing or mowing in the late fall (down to about 2 inches). S

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One thought on “Frost Seeding Now For a Better Pasture This Summer

  1. We’re conducting a workshop on “renovation of worn-out sheep pastures” mostly for small flock owners. One of seeds we use for compaction problems is a small amount of yellow-blossom Norgold (low- or no-coumarin) sweet clover in the mix with red clover, trefoil and one grass. We find very little information about sweet clover and sheep: are there any problems with them grazing small amounts of it?

    Thank you for any help you can offer.
    Curt Gesch

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