Winter Damage Mitigation

Last year’s winter brought on a lot of winterkill and decimated the potential for forage production. Spring and summer did not provide many opportunities to establish new forage production fields. As a result, forage inventories are low and many forage fields are in poor shape, expected to yield well below their potential. What can be done? The fastest remedy is to improve what you have. While starting over will set you back until early summer at best, improving an existing field with a short term grass species provides more and earlier forage and is cheaper to accomplish. There are quite a few options for spring planting, each with their own “specialty”:Picture13

Frost seeding is a cheap and efficient way to overseed existing forage fields, but the window for frost seeding is closing fast. Seed is applied with minimal damage to the field, ready to germinate as soon as the conditions are suitable. Seed can be applied with a fertilizer spreader, but depending on equipment it may be challenging to get the seed evenly spread, as grass seed is very light. Make narrow passes when broadcasting in this manner. Using a drill to get the seed in the ground, will improve the establishment rate of non-coated seed. It offers an even seed placement and better seed-soil contact. ~ excerpt from DLF Pickseed Spring 2020 Forage newsletter.