More information on frost seeding

The following is Part 2 of an article on frost seeding, which is used to improve productivity and forage quality of pastures and hay fields by broadcasting seed on frozen ground.
This article will deal with species selection, seeding rates, and harvest management.
Red clover is the easiest species to frost seed. The seed is dense, which improves seed-soil contact, it germinates at low temperatures, and has high seedling vigour, allowing it to start growing early in the spring.
Birdsfoot trefoil and white clover have been frost seeded with varying degrees of success.
Birdsfoot trefoil is more difficult and slower to establish than red clover, but it is non-bloating. Once established, it will grow well under a wide range of growing conditions, and will persist longer than red clover.
Grasses are rarely frost seeded successfully. However, research at the University of Wisconsin by Dr. Dan Undersander demonstrated greater establishment success with orchardgrass and Italian (annual) ryegrass than with timothy or reed canarygrass.
Smooth bromegrass was intermediate for establishment, but is more winter hardy than orchardgrass and Italian ryegrass.
Because of auto-toxicity, which will prevent new alfalfa seedlings to grow in the presence of a mature alfalfa plant, alfalfa is not well-suited to frost seeding.
While phosphorus fertilizer benefits new seedlings, in a frost seeding situation, fertilizing the field will provide the advantage to the existing plants.
A better option is a late-summer application of phosphorus and potash to promote growth and winter persistence of the newly-established legumes.
In the year of seeding, if an adequate stand (40 percent or more legume) is established, avoid the application of nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen fertilizer will increase the competition from grasses.
In stands where there is a low level of legume, there will be a yield response from the grasses to additional nitrogen. If nitrogen must be applied to increase production, it should be limited to less than 50 kg/ha (actual) during the first season.
Once the new seedlings are established, regular grazing or harvest will reduce competition from existing grasses and allow light penetration into the canopy.
In the year of establishment, avoid overgrazing by keeping at least five-eight cm (two-three inches) of top growth.

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