When to Plant
Pasture mixes can be planted either in the spring of the year or in the fall of the year. In spring, it’s important that the soil temperature is at least 55 degrees before planting. This will help with the germination process and give better overall results. When planning a fall seeding, plan to plant at least 60 days before the first killing frost.
Moisture is critical for the germination process. However, too much moisture/standing water will kill seeds and new seedlings. If you have an irrigation system on the property where the new pasture or overseeding will take place, you have the flexibility to seed anytime during the spring and summer months. Use a small amount of water daily during the germination period just keeping the soil moist. After the seed germinates, 1 inch of water weekly during the summer months is perfect for maintaining a healthy pasture.
Preparing the Soil
Before planting or overseeding a pasture, it’s important to have the soil tested to verify which nutrients/lime need to be added prior to the seeding process. Having the proper balance of nutrients in the soil will increase plant vigor and give the best overall results.
Preparing the seedbed with a plow and disc with allow the new seedlings to establish a deeper and healthier root system. When planning to overseed an existing pasture, mow the existing pasture as low as possible and remove all debris and thatch. Apply the seed at the recommended rate and then use a weighted roller to ensure good seed-soil contact.
New pastures – 25 lbs per acre
Over-seeding existing pastures – 12 lbs per acre. Do not plant seed more than ¼” deep.
Caring for New Pasture
Once the new pasture is growing and on its way to being established, wait until it is 8 to 10 inches tall before allowing the livestock to graze the new pasture. It’s important to manage the new pasture and not let the livestock overgraze. This can cause bare spots that may not recover.
Eight weeks after the pasture is established, we recommend using a balanced fertilizer like 16-16-16. This will help with both root growth and plant production.