Pasture Planting

Planting grass and legumes to reduce soil erosion and improve production.                           

How it works

Drill or broadcast adapted grass or legumes into a low-producing pasture or a steep, eroding cropland field.

How it helps

Heavy grass cover slows water flow, reducing soil erosion.
Good pastures protect water quality by filtering runoff water and increasing infiltration.
Lush pastures give cover and habitat for wildlife.
As plants recycle and roots die, organic matter in the soil is improved.

Planning ahead

Are selected species suited to your soil types?
Have you chosen species that will help you reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides?
Have you chosen species that will meet the needs of your livestock?

Tech notes

Do not mix warm and cool season grasses in the same pasture.
Selected grass and legumes should be compatible with the planned management.
When only two grass species are selected, they should make up equal proportions of the seeding mixture.
Add legumes to improve forage quality and extend the grazing season.
Drill seed uniformly to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Leave residues and till on the contour.
If erosion is a problem, leave at least 30% residue cover after planting.
Plant a nurse crop on steeper slopes or where weeds are a problem to get a good stand. NRCS recommends seeding oats at 1 to 1 1/2 bu./acre as a nurse crop. *
Graze or closely chop pastures before reseeding. Apply a burndown herbicide.

Maintenance

Wait until pasture is well established to graze.
Mow weeds when they reach a height of 6-8 inches. *
Control persistent weeds with herbicides.
Fertilize as needed.

* Check local recommendations.