Inexpensive Techniques for Adding Legumes/Some Grasses to Pasture and Hay Land - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Inexpensive Techniques for Adding Legumes/Some Grasses to Pasture and Hay Land


Inexpensive Techniques for Adding Legumes/Some Grasses to Pasture and ... Reduce competitiveness of sward. No-till Drills. More expensive than broadcasting seed ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Inexpensive Techniques for Adding Legumes/Some Grasses to Pasture and Hay Land

Inexpensive Techniques for Adding Legumes/Some
Grasses to Pasture and Hay Land
  • Richard W. Taylor
  • Extension Agronomist
  • Department of Plant and Soil Sciences
  • University of Delaware

Why Add Legumes?
  • Maintain productivity
  • ?Yd CP, Quality, RFV
  • ? N eff ? Fert cost
  • ? Cost of forage production

Why Add Legumes?
  • ? Soil nutr use balance
  • Improve seasonal forage distr
  • ? Summer slump
  • Help aid weed control through competition
  • But, you can decrease herbicide options
  • Can make weed control more difficult
  • ? Pasture diversity

Why Add Grasses?
  • Maintain productivity
  • Lengthen stand life (alf hay fds)
  • Maintain density for weed control
  • Increase diversity of a pasture
  • Why Add Other Forbs?
  • Compaction layer control
  • Extend grazing
  • Maintain or inc. productivity

Key Mgt Items Before Seeding
  • Optimize soil fertility and esp pH for legume
  • For frost or walk in seedings, soil test top 2
  • Target for pH top 2 inches 6 or better, high PK
  • W/future harv/grazing timing intensity, manage
    to maintain legs
  • Ahead of planting, control objectionable
    broadleaf weeds
  • Observe rotation restrictions for any pesticide
    in use
  • Minimize overgrazing
  • Occasionally reseed

Legume Selection
  • Voted most likely to succeed were
  • Red clover (photo on left)
  • Slightly larger seed, 2 year effectiveness, very
    competitive even in heavy canopies
  • For this appl. use less expensive seed, up to 4
    lb/acre in pastures and 8 lb/acre in hay fields
  • White clover (large types, often referred to as
    Ladino types)
  • Very small seeded, perennial but shallow root
    system hurt by droughts
  • Needs little soil disturbance to be planted
  • Use less exp seed but you need only ½ to 1 lb/A
    most times

Legume Selection (Perennials)
  • Alfalfa (photo on left)
  • Lge seeded, spec varieties if grazing, too
    expensive for low cost appl methods
  • Walk-in or frost crack seedings are not
    recommended for alfalfa
  • Birdsfoot trefoil (center photo)
  • Not well suited on Delmarva except in northern
  • If used in pasture, Empire does best at 3-8 lb/a
  • Condensed tannin content may preclude use in
    equine pastures
  • Requires special inoculum whenever seeded
  • Alsike clover (photo on right)
  • Small seeded, not for equine but suitable for
    beef-sheep, 1 for pasture
  • Rate of 1-4 lb/a holds down cost
  • Can improve summer yds/CP levels

Annual Legumes
  • Crimson clover (photo on left)
  • WA (winter annual), lge seeded, exp, if it
    matures, the seed capsule can be an eye hazard
    (center photo)
  • Walk-in seed at 10 lb/acre (1/2 the normal rate)
    in late summer or very early fall
  • Subterranean clover (photo on right)
  • WA, lge seeded, exp, poor competitor with heavy
  • If seeded, pre-mow or pre-graze heavily to remove
    as much vegetation as possible
  • Walk-in seed in late summer or early fall (10
    lb/acre suggested rate)
  • Arrowleaf clover
  • WA, matures late June, some potential
  • Walk in seed in late summer or early fall at 4 to
    6 lb/acre

Other Legumes
  • Annual lespedezas
  • Require heavier seeding rates 10-15 lb/a
  • Summer annuals
  • Palatability issues for some animals
  • Most versatile of legumes
  • Hairy vetch/annual vetches (15-20 lb/a) (photo on
  • Larger seed, heavier seeding rates, more exp, but
    higher N return
  • Best when late-summer/fall seeded (no-till) but
    can be seeded in early spring (fixes less N)

RC seedlings emerging after early spring frost
RC in grass pasture from frost seeding
  • Three methods of seeding can be used
  • Frost or Frost Crack Seeding
  • Late summer or spring walk-in, walk-on
  • No-till drill

Frost or Frost Crack Seeding
  • How does it work?
  • Seed is broadcast over field
  • Soil cracking and movement with ice formation
  • Best for small seeds as less soil movement is
  • How successful can it be?
  • Stands wont often be equivalent to a no-till or
    conventional till establishment, but can be ok
  • What are the odds?
  • RC WC success 3 or 4 out of 5 yrs
  • Less often with other legumes grasses
  • Fewer plants establish with larger seeded legumes
    and grasses

Frost or Frost Crack Seeding
  • Timing dependent on weather
  • Is on snow appropriate?
  • Rapid melt
  • Late-Feb thru mid-March
  • Can be used for legumes, grasses, or forbs
  • Smallest seeds may need carrier
  • Coarse Sand
  • Pelletized or granulated lime
  • Triple superphosphate
  • Muriate of potash

Small specks in snow are red clover seeds
Frost Crack Seeding
  • Hand spread
  • Bucket or hand-cranked fertilizer spreader
  • Suited to small acreages
  • ATV with cyclone spreader
  • Tractor mounted cyclone spreader or
    lime/fertilizer spreader for larger acreage
  • Old brillion seeders to drop seed on surface

Options to Improve Success
  • Graze heavily fall before
  • If not pasture, mow and remove as much cover as
  • What ifs
  • Youre too earlyit freezes up
  • Youre too lateno more freeze at night and thaw
    during day cycles
  • Option is to allow cattle into field (not when
    soil is wet) to press seed into soil

  • Late summer/early fall
  • Most successful with red clover, sometimes white
  • Early spring
  • Most successful for small seeded, rapidly
    establishing species
  • Less success that FC
  • Broadcast seed
  • Reduce competitiveness of sward

No-till Drills
  • More expensive than broadcasting seed
  • Success rate much higher
  • Stands generally more acceptable
  • Control or manage existing vegetation
  • Big question is the cost to own/rent the drill

Grass Selection
  • Timothy (photo on far left)
  • Small seeded, low rate needed, competitiveness
  • Kentucky bluegrass (photo just left of center)
  • Small seed, slow to germ, rhizomatous, spr P
  • Orchardgrass (photo just right of center)
  • Larger seed, ok competitiveness, bunch grass
  • Ryegrasses (photo on far right)
  • Larger seed, more needed, most competitiveesp
    Annual RG
  • Used to extend alf stand life

  • Ryegrasses (photo on far right)
  • Larger seed, more needed, most competitiveesp
    annual and tetraploid ryegrasses
  • Used to extend alf stand life
  • Seed at 15 to 20 lb/acre (walk-in fall or spring
    or frost crack)
  • Festuloliums
  • Genetic crosses between meadow fescue and annual
    or perennial ryegrass
  • All varieties tried to date have established very
  • Varieties differ in their longevity, some act as
    annuals and others as short term perennials
  • Yield potential can be quite high if the
    established stand is good
  • Seed at about 15 lb/acre

Other Choices
  • Forage chicory (photo on right)
  • Can be planted early spring but w/expense does
    best tilled in
  • Forage radish (photo on left)
  • Ideal for late summer seeding to increase winter
    forage and to break up compacted layers
  • Rape and other brassicas
  • Generally small seeded and need planting in

  • To Reduce Costs
  • Theres more risk so choose the least exp seed
  • Keep seeding rates low
  • Maintain best fertility levels
  • This also helps the grass/spp already there
  • Inoculate seed to gain N
  • Concentrate on clovers
  • You can experiment w/others but on smaller