Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
July 22, 1999

Time For Fall Seeding

We continually get questions regarding fall seeding and mixtures that will provide optimum grazing. There are several species of forage that will fit into the management for livestock producers. Soil preparation and seeding dates are very important when seeding forages in the fall. Most producers fail to plant the forages early enough to allow for a growing period for plant establishment prior to winter. August is the prime month to consider for many of the fall seedlings. This date will vary from late July to early September when comparing northern and southern areas of the Midwest. Plan to plant in the earlier part of the season in the northern areas and later in the more southern regions. There are two factors that need to be considered prior to determining what specie of forage will work for you. These are the soil types available and the type of livestock you plan to produce on your operation.

Certain forage combinations provide higher quality nutrients for grazing stockers while other combinations of grass will provide additional seasonal grazing for beef cows.

Basically soils will divide into 4 groups for forage production for rotational and permanent pastures. These are moderately to well-drained soils, imperfectly drained soils, poorly drained soils and droughty soils. A mixture of legumes and grasses frequently provides the best grazing nutrients and the legumes have the ability to provide additional nitrogen, which will assist with the growth of the grasses. Many producers request information relating to a mixture that will meet the needs for hay production if grazing management fails to continue from year to year.

Forages best suited for moderately to well drained soils include Alfalfa, Red Clover, Smooth Bromegrass, Orchardgrass, Tall Fescue, and Timothy. A mixture of a legume with or two grasses will more than likely best meet the management needs for grazing forages.

For soils that meet the imperfectly drained soils criteria there are several of the previously listed varieties plus additional species we can consider. These include Red Clover, Ladino Clover, Orchardgrass, Tall Fescue, Smooth Bromegrass, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Timothy, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Switchgrass. A combination of a legume and grass is generally considered to provide the better grazing combination.

Forages better adapted for the poorly drained soils include Birdsfoot Trefoil, Smooth Bromegrass, Timothy, Alsike Clover, Ladino Clover, Reed Canarygrass, Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass and Switchgrass.

For soils that tend to meet the more droughty conditions, Alfalfa, Smooth Bromegrass, Orchardgrass, Tall Fescue, and Crownvetch are primary considerations. Other grasses may be substituted for any of these; however, a combination of grasses and legumes will assist with forage production for both grazing and hay production.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - July 22, 1999
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT072299.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004