When to Reseed Pastures

Multiple reasons exists for needing to reseed pasture, such as old stands that are dying out or stands that need to be improved due to poor management, disease, to fill in bare spots, or to reduce weed problems. When deciding what forage species to seed, determine future goals and plans for the pasture in question. Common goals may be grazing, harvesting for hay or silage, supply quick ground cover, or to fill in bare areas. The current conditions need to be assessed, such as current species, amount of bare ground, soil type, location, and season.

Frost Seeding

The frost seeding method allows seeds to be inter-seeded into undisturbed soils by scattering seed on top of the ground. The freezing and thawing action of the soil works the seeds into the soil where they can germinate. In Kentucky, the ideal time to frost seed is between February 10 and March 1, with mid-February preferred. It is important to consider what forage species can be successfully frost seeded. Seeding red and white clover is recommended using this method. While it is possible to frost seed some grass species, it is typically less successful and generally not recommended.

Partridge Pea or Chamaecrista Fasciculata

Partridge pea is a warm-season legume commonly used in wildlife seed mixes. Conservation Reserve Program lands are often seeded with these wildlife mixes. Partridge pea provides good nutrition and cover for birds and other wildlife. The current drought has resulted in the opening of many CRP lands for livestock foraging and many producers have questions about the safety of feeding partridge pea to livestock. 

Soil Testing

Taking soil samples during the fall of the year allows the farmer time to have the fertilizer applied well before grasses start to grow in the spring. Most pasture fields should be sampled every three to four years. If you use a field strictly for cutting hay from or for annual row crops, and nutrients get removed and not added back, you should soil test annually.

Growth of Grasses and Legumes

Good grazing management will result in improved pasture yields. Understanding how plants grow allows for better management decisions as to when to move livestock under different growing conditions. This article will focus on growth occurring after grazing or mowing. All plants require water, nutrients, and energy to grow. The current season, climate, and other environmental factors also affect plant growth.

Managing Spring Grass: Going from 0 to 60!

Spring can often be one of the most challenging times of the year for graziers. Grass growth goes from nonexistent to excessive in a matter of weeks and in many cases grazing livestock have a hard time keeping up with it. This can result in lower quality forage that is less palatable. The growth of new forage is also delayed by not removing the growing point of our cool-season grasses. The presence of the growing point suppresses tiller formation at the base of the grass plant. The following suggestions can help you to control spring growth and get the most out of your spring pastures.

Frost Seeding Clover: Just Do It!

By: Dr. Chris Teutsch - Everyone is familiar with Nike’s ad campaign that encourages people to “JUST DO IT”. I am officially adopting this slogan for my 2017 Frost Seeding Campaign. Legumes are an essential part of a strong and healthy nitrogen cycle in grasslands. Listed below are a few steps that we can take that will help to ensure that our FROST seeding's are successful:

The Value of Coated Seed

Over the last 20 years there has been a growing trend for more and more alfalfa and clover seed to be coated. I am often asked “Is it worth buying coated seed?” I almost always answer yes to this question, especially in the case of alfalfa and clover seed. This question is usually followed by another question “Since the coating means that there’s less seed in the bag, should I plant at a higher seeding rate?” My normal answer is no, you should plant at the same rate as recommended by the forage establishment publication in your state.

Seeding Cool-Season Perennial Grasses

Cool-season perennials are the primary forage grazed by livestock in Kentucky. Species, such as tall fescue and orchardgrass, will last for many years in a pasture with proper management. Good establishment and management principles must be practiced to allow for establishment of forages within newly renovated fields. Below are tips to help establish cool-season perennials.