It is common to establish a grass—legume mixture, like timothy and red clover, only to see the clover disappear over a period of two or three years. Initiate frost seeding anytime after soils begin to experience freeze-thaw cycles. Contact your local Extension office for any assistance. Red Clover and Birdsfoot Trefoil make a good mix for seeding as Red clover often only produces for 2 years; once the Red Clover stand declines the Birdsfoot Trefoil is established enough to be the dominant legume. Other legumes and timothy can be frost seeded with slightly less success than clovers. Seeding depth of timothy should be about 0.3 to 1.3 cm (0.125 to 0.5 in). Rotationally grazing is the best way to improve a stand for the long term. Introduction to Frost Seeding. ©2020 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | College of ACES |  Web Privacy Notice | EEO | Accessibility | Staff Login | myExtension, Extension Educator, Local Foods and Small Farms Educator, College of Agricultural Consumer & Environmental Sciences, Serving Henderson, Knox, McDonough and Warren Counties, Serving Calhoun, Cass, Greene, Morgan and Scott Counties, Serving Adams, Brown, Hancock, Pike and Schuyler Counties, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For related content and insights from industry experts, sign up for Successful Farming newsletters. 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. Frost seeding switchgrass could be one if th easiest and foolproof ways to establish an outstanding swithchgass planting! Frost seeding can be an effective, low-cost method to introduce new forage species into an existing sod or maintain the current forage composition of pastures. Good Growing Tip of the Week: If you have old seed lying around, it is important to do a germination test and adjust your planting rate based off the germination rate. Frost seeding should not be done when the ground is covered with snow as quickly … Coupled with spring rains, the alternate freeze cycles are what help to incorporate the seed. It is also important to use high-quality seed and the correct planting rate to guarantee a good stand. Iowa producer experience has been best when legume seed is broadcast on the thinnest, least vigorous pasture areas. 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. 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. 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. The plants are short-lived though, and producers typically need to repeat the seeding every two to three years to maintain the stand. Red clover has been the most consistently successful forage species to establish using frost-seeding. It […] Frost seeding involves spreading forage seed on existing pastures during the late winter or very early spring while the ground is still frozen. Iowa producer experience has been best when legume seed is broadcast on the thinnest, least vigorous pasture areas. SS Frost Seeding Pasture Mixture. The fundamental principle behind frost seeding is that alternating freezing and thawing, along with spring rains, will help to incorporate the broadcast seed into the soil surface. After … Best results are obtained in forage stands of non-sod forming species without a thatch barrier. Other legumes and timothy can be frost seeded with slightly less success than clovers. Freeze-thaw cycles then provide shallow coverage of the seed, which help shield from early spring rains. This mixture may be planted with a small grain. Below are the suggested seeding rates in pounds per acre. The math really works with Timothy, especially at the Cdn$1.60lb I spent. The increase in seed cost with a proper seeding rate is offset by lower costs for labor, tillage, and seeding equipment. per acre. The ideal time to frost seed is in the very early spring. When selecting what plant species to seed, the effectiveness of frost seeding is dependent on the size and hardiness of the seed. Timothy is popular in the northern half of Pennsylvania and most of New York State because of its natural adaptation to moist, cool environments. Timothy is usually seeded in mixtures with legumes. When using a spreader, it is important to determine the effective seeding width of each type of seed or mixture and the spreading pattern of the spreader. The freezing and thawing cycles help to incorporate the seed into the soil. Overgrazed pastures or pastures with thin stand or bare spots tend to have the highest germination success due to the seed to soil contact and lack of competition from surrounding plants. Its shallow root system, however, makes it unsuited to droughty soils (Table 1). The main advantage to frost seeding is the ability to establish desirable species into an undisturbed sod at a low per acre cost. Seeding on top of snow is sometimes suggested as a desirable practice. Some Iowa farmers have successfully frost seeded pastures for many years. Other legume options include Birdsfoot Trefoil, White Clover, and Ladino Clover. Timothy has 1.152 million seeds per pound, 200 pounds equals 230,400,000 seeds. 18 lbs. I frost seeded Alma Timothy this year. Frost seeding is a popular option to improve forage yield and quality of pasture and hay land. Success has also been improved where the previous grass stand has been heavily grazed, thus, exposing more areas of bare soil. Timothy seeds are tiny, so shallow planting is essential in hastening seedling emergence. Also safe for other domestic animals including rabbits, guinea pigs and others. Grasses other than timothy are difficult to establish with frost-seeding because the seeds are large and fluffy. Seeding Rating. Let the pasture grow up to 8-10 inches tall and graze it down tight. Tim Griffin, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Hayfields and pastures don’t always have everything we would like them to have. Frost seeding can be an efficient and cost effective way to reseed or introduce new forage species to pastures and hay meadows. That is a pretty good return on the cost the cost of the seed and the time to broadcast it. Frost seeding will be least successful in fields with thick sod. It is best suited as a cool-season grass. Frost seeding should not be done when the ground is covered with snow as quickly melting snow causes the seed to wash away. Operating broadcast machinery on frozen or dry pasture surfaces is safer than operating on snow or under wet, slippery conditions. 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. While most dormant seeding is done in early winter before the ground freezes (or during a period of thaw and dry conditions), frost seeding is usually done in late winter. Its success is contingent upon freeze-thaw cycles that enhance seed-soil contact. Although White Clover and Ladino Clover are known to last a bit longer than Red Clover, the two species are often less tolerant to low fertility, drought, and overgrazing. Frost seeding is simply broadcasting legume or grass seed on existing grass pastures in late winter or very early spring when the ground is still frozen. Frost seedings can be done to improve the stand, but this will only be a short term fix. This is an excellent time for areas which normally receive good snow cover and do not experience prol… Information is provided 'as is' and solely for informational purposes, not for trading purposes or advice. 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. Frost Seeding – This method is used to introduce legumes such as the clovers or birdsfoot trefoil into pastures. The ideal time for frost-seeding will vary based on your location, from January and February in the South to as late as early April in the Northeast. Once you have seeded the pasture, the work isn’t completely over. Grazing needs to be carefully managed early season to … Though not as reliable as seeding with a drill, frost seeding has still been proven as effective and budget friendly. Frost seeding can be an easy and inexpensive way of rejuvenating a pasture, but it is important to do it properly. Our recent cycles of warm weather and snow have been somewhat of a nuisance; however, for those of you with a thin stand of vegetation in your pasture or hay field, this weather may be a great aid in frost seeding these areas. With this knowledge, it is recommended to seed grasses separate from legumes. 90 acres of hayfields received 200lbs of Timothy. 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. Seeding on top of … Frost seeding is a popular option to improve forage yield and quality of pasture and hay land. I am not aware of any research that substantiates this, so operate machinery in a safe manner. 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%. Often frost seeding is done to introduce or increase the stand of a forage legume species into an established grass stand; legumes typically have a higher success rate for establishment. All Rights Reserved. for frost seeding, in order of their chance of suc-cess, are orchardgrass, timothy, tall fescue, and bromegrass. There are many resources available for those new to frost seeding. Frost seeding is also less successful on sandy soils compared to loam or clay soils. Certain legumes and grasses can be successfully frost seeded. A 60% to 70% frost seeding establishment rate … Dormant Seeding & Frost Seeding Dormant seeding is a temporary or permanent seeding application at a time when soil temperatures are too low for germination to occur (less than 50oF). Native species: Indian grass, 1 lb/ac; Little Blue Stem, 2 lb/ac; Prairie drop, .25 lb/ac. 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. Smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss. Successful frost seeding can improve forage quality, and research in Michigan has shown yield increases by 1.5-2.0 tons of dry matter per acre. Frost-seeding is better done on a little snow cover as it is easier to see the spread pattern on top of the snow—usually mid- to late March is good for much of Michigan. 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. ), 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. It is the simple process of broadcasting seed of desired plants early in the spring to allow snow and frost the opportunity to work the seed into the soil. Legume seed is often heavier than grass seed which allows for it to spread further than grass seed. Birdsfoot Trefoil is slower to establish than Red Clover; however, overtime trefoil stands improve. 70% Climax Timothy 15% Alsike Clover 15% Wildcat Double Cut Red Clover . Futures: at least 10 minute delayed. The freezing and thawing cycles help to incorporate the seed into the soil. 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