Planning on planting forages next month?
Jul 01, 2011
Planting forages next month?
The wet weather this past spring in the North East, and extreme drought in the South & South West has forced many of us to postpone planting forages until mid-summer or even fall if we don’t get a break in the extremes.
If you are hoping to plant yet this season don’t forget to keep two very important factors in mind.
- Depth of seed. The number one reason for poor stands of forages/grasses & legumes are how deep you are planting the seed. Most legumes like alfalfa & clover need very little soil cover to germinate and grow. Before you even put the seed in your planter ensure that you have a smooth/firm seedbed, especially if you plan on mowing it for hay. Dips, peaks and rocks in your field will wreak havoc on your equipment. For some of us groundhog/woodchuck holes & mounds are enough of a hassle! Why add to your mowing frustrations. A good rule of thumb for seed depth is to plant seeds no deeper than 5 times their diameter.
- Seed to soil contact. Forage seeds need to absorb more than 100% their own weight in water to germinate. Since the moisture must be absorbed from the soil to the seed, it is critical that the seeds be in good contact with the soil. Poor contact will result in poor stands, due to poor germination.
- The planter. You don’t need a fancy $30,000 planter to plant grass & legumes. We utilize a seeder that has a packer wheel in front and back of where the seed falls onto the ground. The front packer wheels firm the soil and the 2nd set ensures good seed to soil contact and a smooth seedbed for a finish.
So take some extra time when praying today, the weather we’re dealt isn’t more than we can handle. Our families before us survived these weather extremes and we will too. There might not be an end in sight to our over abundance of moisture or your extreme drought, but if your trust in the Lord he will provide what you need. Don’t believe me? TRY GOD! What do you have to lose?