In order for a seed to germinate, it must absorb many times its weight in water. Furthermore, the longer it takes for the needed water to be absorbed, the longer the germinating seed, and subsequently the young seedling, will be vulnerable to unfavorable weather conditions. Good seed-soil contact favors water uptake by seeds. Thus, practices such as drilling seed (especially using a drill with press wheels), use of a cultipacker when seed is broadcast on a prepared seedbed or even using livestock to “trample in” seed (without convering them too deeply favor stand establishment). Purchase Forage-Livestock Quotes and Concepts books for $5 each by contacting email@example.com.
Here are a few tips to ensure you have the best chance of getting clover established from a frost seeding.
1) Get a current soil test, and apply the needed lime and nutrients.
2) Choose an improved variety with known performance and genetics. Go to the UK Forage Website for the latest results.
3) Seed 6-8 lbs red clover and 1-2 lbs of white/ladino clover per acre.
4) Make sure seed lands on bare soil. The biggest cause of seeding failure with frost seedings is too much ground cover.
5) Get good seed soil contact with a no-till drill with packer wheels or a corrugated roller cultipacker.
6) Control competition when the grass starts growing.
The annual KY Small Ruminant Grazing conference will be held in Madisonville, KY on Sat., Feb. 10th from 8-2:30. The conference will highlight maintaining healthy sheep and goats on pasture. Specific topics include Deworming, Pasture Renovation, Summer Annuals, Economic Considerations, Plant ID and a producer Panel. Registration for the full day is only $35 with a registration deadline of Feb. 5th. Dr. Beth Johnson is offering the FAMACHA Parasite Diagnostic training class immediately after the conference for only $18. The full agenda and registration details are on the UK forage website or call Tom Keene (859-257-3144).
Feb. 26-27 – Heart of America Grazing Conference, Springfield, MO
Apr. 24-25 – KY Grazing School, Princeton, KY
May 31 – Equine Farm and Facilities Expo, Harrodsburg, KY
The University of Kentucky and the Alliance for Grassland Renewal will again offer a workshop covering all aspects of the establishment and management of the new novel tall fescue varieties on March 8 at the new Bluegrass Stockyards across I-75 from the KY Horse Park. Cattle producers that replace KY31 pastures with novel varieties consistently have higher conception rates and higher average daily gains. Click here for full details.
Gene Olson, the UK Forage Variety Coordinator, has just released the trial results from 2017 showing the yield and grazing tolerance of 20 different forage species. Each year, Gene also pulls together the test results from the last 15 years into a comprehensive summary report. The “2017 Long-Term Summary of Kentucky Forage Variety Trials” shows variety performance in KY over the last 15 years in a user friendly format. Simply refer to one of the 23 tables in the publication to see the varieties that have performed “above” or “below” average over the years. For example, table 2 shows that Freedom red clover yield is 109% of average (100%) and common red clover is only 79%. Also, the more times a variety has been tested the more confidence you can have in it’s potential performance on your farm.
This report and all the detailed forage variety reports are available from your local county agent or at the University of Kentucky Forage website.
|√ Strip graze stockpiled tall fescue to improve utilization and maximize grazing days|
|√ Test hay before feeding so that supplementation strategies can be implemented|
|√ Remove cows from pastures during wet periods to avoid pugging and soil compaction|
|√ Feed hay in your worst pastures to help increase soil fertility and organic mater|
|√ Evaluate pastures for clover and decide which need to be overseeded – graze these closely|
|√ Order clover seed, choose a variety that has been tested in Kentucky|