The easiest solution is often not the best solution. I know of many producers who regularly overseed pastures and apply herbicides, but their pastures are still not productive. If a pasture has major issues like fescue toxicity or major weed issues, then you can be wasting your money by trying short term solutions that are not working. The best long term solution can be complete pasture renovation. Below are the basic steps that have proven successful on many farms throughout the southeast.
· Lime and fertilize to soil test recommendations.
· Make sure that toxic fescue has not gone to seed this summer.
· Stop grazing in early July and allow five to six inches of regrowth.
· Spray with glyphosate 4-6 weeks before planting – mid to late-July.
· Allow weeds and toxic tall fescue to regrow.
· Re-spray glyphosate before planting – late August to early September.
· Plant early to mid-September with novel tall fescue, orchardgrass or other perennial grass species.
· Seed with a no-till drill at 20 lbs/acre and no deeper that ¼ to ½ inches deep.
· To achieve better ground cover, set drill at 10 lbs/A, seed twice with the 2nd pass perpendicular to 1st.
· Apply a low rate of N at seeding or in October to enhance stand establishment (40-50 lbs/N/acre).
· For broadleaf weeds, wait until new grass seedlings reach the 4 leaf stage (4-6”) before spraying.
· Allow good sod development before grazing. Be patient and wait for the stand to develop.
· If you must graze, wait until plants are 8” tall and flash graze (a large number of animals for a day).
· Ideally, manage with light grazing or a hay harvest next spring. Overgrazing can ruin a new stand.
· To incorporate clover, frost seed the following February after weed issues have been controlled.