Pasture Interseeding this Fall
You may be looking at some of your pastures this summer and thinking they need a little boost. Fall can be a great time to interseed into pastures to increase density or diversity.
As we approach fall, our summer temperatures will begin to decline and we may pick-up some additional rain here and there. Cool season pastures will be waking up more than they were mid-summer, but will not be as active as they were in the spring. Interseeding at this time takes advantage of the weather conditions and slightly slowed growth of what is currently in the pasture. In the Upper Midwest, mid-August to the beginning of September is a common window to drill in new species. The main timeline to keep in mind is seeding at least six weeks before a hard frost. This allows the new seedling to establish enough to overwinter.
What to Add
What you choose to interseed really depends on what the use of the paddock is. If it is a hay field, adding in additional species that will dry down is important. If it is a legume dominated pasture, you may want to drill in additional grasses and look at your management that may be allowing only legumes to thrive. Fall interseeding can also be a great time to increase diversity of a mostly-grass pasture by adding legumes and forbs. Not sure what species you need? Give PCS a call to discuss pasture options!
Fall and Spring Management
Interseeded pastures should not be grazed in the fall unless it is a quick graze across to clip existing species and allow light down to new seedlings. These interseeded areas should also not be grazed too heavily right away in the spring as that can also damage the interseeded seedlings. Make sure to scout the pastures in the spring to analyze winter survival of the interseeding. Weed control in these areas is important in order to avoid the interseeded species from getting shaded out, so clipping may be a useful tool in these areas.
What do you plan to add to your pastures this fall?