Frost-seeding is the broadcasting of forage seed on existing pasture in late winter, with the goal of freeze-thaw cycles shallowly covering the seed. Many believe that seeding into an existing stand allows seeding rates to be cut; however, the most successful seeding rates for frost seeding are equal to that used for a prepared seed bed. For any leftover, new seed, it is important to store seed in a cool, dry environment (below 50ºF and less than 50% humidity) to maintain quality. It […] Remember to start with a soil sample to ensure the proper pH and fertility levels. Study historical weather data to time your planting with the last few weeks of freezing … Timothy is a versatile grass that can be fed to cattle and (especially) horses as hay, and also can provides suitable forage, usually in combination with a legume such as alfalfa, to sheep, cattle, goats and other animals. As the name suggests, frost seeding is the method of spreading seed into existing pastures in late winter to early spring while the ground is still frozen; typically, late February into early March. Smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss. Success has also been improved where the previous grass stand has been heavily grazed, thus, exposing more areas of bare soil. Contact your local Extension office for any assistance. This freeze-thaw action helps to incorporate the seeds into the soil surface. The plants are short-lived though, and producers typically need to repeat the seeding every two to three years to maintain the stand. Frost seeding should not be done when the ground is covered with snow as quickly … The freezing and thawing cycles help to incorporate the seed into the soil. Initiate frost seeding anytime after soils begin to experience freeze-thaw cycles. Introduced specides: Red top, .5 lb/ac; Timothy, 1.3 lb/ac; Orchardgrass, 2 lb/ac. With a high seedling vigor and tolerance to pH, fertility, drainage, and drought; Red Clover is the most commonly used legume for frost seeding. Grasses other than timothy are difficult to establish with frost-seeding because the seeds are large and fluffy. Frost seeding will be least successful in fields with thick sod. Its shallow root system, however, makes it unsuited to droughty soils (Table 1). Frost seeding switchgrass could be one if th easiest and foolproof ways to establish an outstanding swithchgass planting! Other legume options include Birdsfoot Trefoil, White Clover, and Ladino Clover. While frost-seeding is the easiest and likely the least expensive pasture seeding approach, using a drill for more precise seed placement and seeding when soil conditions are more supportive of quick germination usually provide better and more uniform stand densities. Timothy is usually seeded in mixtures with legumes. In some years, there is an extended cycle of freeze-thaw, but fortunately, early spring rains also helps with seed coverage on bare areas. Frost seeding typically works best with legume seeds because it is easier for smaller seeds to drop to the soil surface and make contact than it is for the larger, lighter grass seeds. There are many resources available for those new to frost seeding. With this knowledge, it is recommended to seed grasses separate from legumes. Its success is contingent upon freeze-thaw cycles that enhance seed-soil contact. Frost seeding should not be done when the ground is covered with snow as quickly melting snow causes the seed to wash away. To be successful, good seed-to-soil contact needs to be accomplished by grazing or clipping pastures close to the soil surface in the fall prior to seeding. Another good time is December, after all the growth has stopped for the year. It is critical to get the newly seeded plants off to a good start. Timothy seeds are tiny, so shallow planting is essential in hastening seedling emergence. Frost seeding can be an easy and inexpensive way of rejuvenating a pasture, but it is important to do it properly. Broadcast spreaders mounted on an ATV or tractor are commonly used for frost seeding. When selecting what plant species to seed, the effectiveness of frost seeding is dependent on the size and hardiness of the seed. Best results are obtained in forage stands of non-sod forming species without a thatch barrier. Legume seed is often heavier than grass seed which allows for it to spread further than grass seed. 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. Frost seeding is thought to be the simplest and least expensive method of seeding; however, it can also be inconsistent with a success rate of only about 60%. 70% Climax Timothy 15% Alsike Clover 15% Wildcat Double Cut Red Clover . Harness pheromones for sustainable pest control, EPA approves Katagon corn herbicide for 2021, Gowan Company buys active ingredients prosulfuron and primisulfuron from Syngenta. Operating broadcast machinery on frozen or dry pasture surfaces is safer than operating on snow or under wet, slippery conditions. I am not aware of any research that substantiates this, so operate machinery in a safe manner. Time of Seeding For most of Ontario, the best time to frost seed is from mid-March to early-April, once the snow is all or nearly all melted. Frost-Seeding - an Effective Forage Establishment Practice for Michigan Kim Cassida and Jerry Lindquist ... orchardgrass, timothy, or fescue are the best candidates for frost-seeding with legumes because there are spaces between plants where legume seedlings can establish. In addition, proper soil pH and fertility are necessary prerequisites to get started.  Overseeding or frost seeding cannot fix these issues; therefore, it is essential to soil sample and fix any issues prior to seeding. Rotationally grazing is the best way to improve a stand for the long term. Iowa producer experience has been best when legume seed is broadcast on the thinnest, least vigorous pasture areas. Frost seeding will return legumes to the pastures; dividing the pasture into at least four paddocks will provide forages time to rest and regrow through the growing season. ), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.), timothy (Phleum pratense L.), and red clover were frost‐seeded into mature alfalfa stands at six seeding rates. Ideally, the ground freezes and thaws at least 2 to 3 times after the seed is broadcasted. Let the pasture grow up to 8-10 inches tall and graze it down tight. 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