Benefits of Frost Seeding Legumes

– Curt Stivison, Fairfield County Soil and Water Engineering Technician

Adding legumes to hay and pasture fields brings at least four benefits and frost seeding is a simple, but effective method. Broadcasting legume seed on the soil surface as it ‘honeycombs’ in late winter (February 15 to March 15) allows the seeds to become covered as the soil freezes and thaws.

1) Higher yields: The total yield of forage per acre is increased. For example, a study conducted at Lexington, Kentucky compared renovating a fescue pasture using red clover to fertilizing the grass with nitrogen. In this study, adding 6 pounds of red clover seed to a fescue pasture produced higher yields than fescue fertilized with up to 180 lb N/ac. Continue reading