Have You Considered Frost Seeding?

January 4, 2018
Don Baune
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Now is a perfect time to think about dormant seeding your pastures with a legume. Dormant seeding, or frost seeding, is accomplished by broadcasting seed across the frozen ground. The natural heaving of the soils in the winter works the seed into the soil. When temperatures warm up the seed will germinate and begin growing. In the past, the most prominent legume specie used in frost seeding was red clover. Grassland Oregon has introduced Frosty Berseem Clover, Fixation Balansa Clover, KY Pride Crimson Clover and AberLasting hybrid white clover that can also be sown in this manner.

FIXatioN Balansa Clover is an excellent choice for incorporating into pastures. FIXatioN has shown very good performance and features crude protein levels and digestibility that exceeds that of most other legumes. While FIXatioN is an annual clover, it is capable of re-seeding itself and thus, will remain part of your pasture for years to come. FIXatioN thrives in heavy clay soils that can become waterlogged and offers the best performance of all clover species in acidic soils.

Frosty Berseem Clover is the variety to use to incorporate into declining alfalfa stands. Frosty is a multi-cut berseem clover that is similar in appearance and in forage quality to that of alfalfa. Frosty is also one of the few clover varieties that have been shown to have little to no incidence of bloat. In a recent trial conducted in Mississippi, Frosty was sown as a monoculture and directly grazed. No bloat was observed among the cattle that were grazing it.

Kentucky Pride Crimson Clover is late maturing, flowering up to two weeks later than other varieties of crimson. It was selected for its unique cold tolerance and ability to produce much more forage than its competitors. Kentucky Pride is an excellent component in mixes providing quality forage. Its roots can grow down beyond 30 inches, breaking down hard pans in the soil.

AberLasting is the first Caucasian white clover hybrid to be developed anywhere that offers drought tolerant rhizomatous root characteristics as well as the nutritive and N-fixing benefits of white clover. Developed through conventional crossing techniques, AberLasting is a small leaved white clover that has proven to be drought tolerant and persistent, even in clover root weevil areas, and therefore is ideal for long term grazing. AberLasting was bred for stress tolerance, grazing tolerance, pest and disease resistance and are fully compatible with all Grassland Oregon ryegrass cultivars.

Dynamite is a high-yielding, double-cut red clover that was selected for both improved disease resistance and forage production. It is ideal for use throughout the United States and Canada. It exhibits early spring growth with abundant regrowth after harvest which improves the overall life of stand. It is less fibrous making it more digestible, which can lead to an increase in animal performance in terms of both milk and meat production. Red clover should be avoided if the pasture is used by either horses or sheep.

No matter which species you choose, Grassland Oregon has you covered in this low-cost way to improve your forage.

For a printable, PDF version of this blog, click below.

Have You Considered Frost Seeding.PDF