Each winter, we begin to get a lot of questions on frost seeding pastures and hay fields. What's the best time? What's the best seed? How does it actually work? Does it really work?
Basically, frost seeding (also called dormant seeding) is broadcasting seed across your frozen pasture or hay field. The normal freezing and thawing of the soils then begin to work the seed into the soil. Then, when the temperatures start to rise, your seed will germinate and begin growing. Even if the clover is not “pulled” into the soil with the freeze/thaw action, there is usually adequate moisture to allow the seed to germinate on the soil surface and establish roots.
For years, we've recommended red clover, white clover, and perennial ryegrass as the products of choice for frost seeding. Clover typically works the best because the seed is heavier and can work into the ground with a little more ease.
Now, with the advent of Frosty Berseem Clover, we've got another tool in our frost seeding toolbox. Frosty will produce a lot of forage, isn't known to cause bloating, can be grazed or made for dry hay. It's quite versatile. The video below does a nice job of describing frost seeding as well as the benefits of utilizing Frosty Berseem Clover.
Where to Use Frosty Berseem Clover
Maybe the best opportunity for Frosty is incorporating into alfalfa stands. The quote below is taken from the Grasslands Oregon article on frost seeding. You can read the entire article here.
Frosty Berseem Clover is the variety to use to incorporate into declining alfalfa stands. Frosty is a multi-cut berseem clover that is similar in appearance and in forage quality to that of alfalfa. Frosty is also one of the few clover varieties that have been shown to have little to no incidence of bloat. In a recent trial conducted in Mississippi, Frosty was sown as a monoculture and directly grazed. No bloat was observed among the cattle that were grazing it.
Vic Shelton has an excellent article on frost seeding legumes. You can read it here. In this article, he'll walk you through seeding rates, along with a lot of other excellent information. If you simply need more to read because you're snowed in your house, here's another article about frost seeding berseem clover. If you've got questions on frost seeding or anything else related to forages, don't hesitate to reach out to us here.