Seedling Progress in Overseeded Pastures

Several Vermont farmers are working with UVM Extension on pasture and hay field renovation projects.  The snow stayed longer than usual this spring and in many cases the ground was not frozen underneath, so opportunities for true “frost-seeding” were sparse.  That said, overseeding can still work, but it requires more careful managment, and there are no guarantees.

The pictures below are from a pasture that was overseeded on April 15 with red clover and annual ryegrass.  The clover seedlings are at the dicotyledon stage and the ryegrass  is at the one shoot stage.  The established perennial pasture grasses and legumes  are putting on some top-growth, but at this stage are investing in root development.  Once the plant shifts its priority to increasing the amount of top-growth, we will need to pay careful attention to the stage and condition of the seedlings and manage the grass canopy accordingly.  The seedlings at this stage seem very tender, and it is not clear how much traffic they will tolerate.  Next week, I may flash-graze a section of my pasture that has been over-seeded, just to see how that affects the establishment of the over-seeded forages.



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