Now is the time to Frost Seed

With several inches of snow still on the ground it is hard to assess just what our pastures will look like once the snow has melted. There are many benefits from frost seeding clovers and other legumes into your pastures. This is the easiest and most economical way to improve pasture yield with minimal disturbance to the soil. Minimal equipment is needed and there is a shortened “hold-off” period before the pasture may be safely grazed. Now is the time to begin planning for frost seeding clovers and other legumes. Pastures that have been grazed closely in the fall are the best candidates for frost seeding as the lack of vegetation allows good seed-to-soil contact. Ideal conditions are when the soil thaws during the day but still freezes over at night. Broadcasted seed can fall into cracks and will germinate when the weather warms up. Allowing cattle access to the newly frost seeded pasture for a short duration can also increase the seed-to-soil contact by hoof pressure. Some of the benefits of adding legumes to pastures include more nitrogen fixation and having a higher protein level in the forage. Check with your local extension agent or seed representative for the best varieties for your area and soil type as seeding rates and costs vary.

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