General Fall Seed Planting Guide

Ryegrass: 

10 to 15 lbs per acre to fill in where one generally has a lot of volunteer ryegrass every year.
20 to 30 lbs per acre for normal late winter and spring grazing or for making hay.
40 to 50 lbs per acre for quicker fall growth for early fall and winter grazing.  This seeding level will produce the most forage for early fall grazing. 

Wheat: plant 125 lbs per acre.
Cereal rye such as Maton and Elbon: plant 100 lbs per acre.
Oats: plant 100 to 150 lbs per acre.

The ryegrass of choice is TAM TBO.  The reason, TAM TBO has always been either the top producing ryegrass or near the top of every trial at Overton Texas.  This make is TAM TBO a very consistent with a low risk forage producer year in and year out in the conditions we have.  TAM TBO is a late maturing ryegrass and in good seasons producers have gotten two good cutting of hay in the spring.  TAM TBO was compared at Overton two years ago against Maton rye, wheat, barley and triticale.  The results were surprising in that TAM TBO if planted early can provide equal to or more forage for early grazing comparing to these crops.  This will be very important in 2011 crop year as Elbon Rye is in short supply and is very expensive.  TAM TBO has out yielded the old stand by ryegrasses such as Marshall every year.  The latest rye grass released is Nelson.  Nelson was expected to be a top producer and it is a good producer but TAM TBO has out performed it every year.  An excellent second choice to TAM TBO that has been very consistent is Prine.  We have used Prine as our second choice if we found ourselves short of TAM TBO and it has done an outstanding job as a very good second choice.  Prine is second to TAM TBO on the three-year average.  Find out for your self. http://overton.tamu.edu/files/2011/04/AnnRyegrass2010-11Overton.pdf

Turnips; plant .75 lbs per acre in a blend or plant 3 lbs per acre by themselves.  For best results, turnips need to be planted when the soil is still very warm.  Turnips are cheap and are the fastest to provide available forage to graze.  .75 lbs of seed per acre has the potential of providing up to 1500 lbs of dry matter per acre with in a month after planting.

Early grazing seeding recommendations:  Early September.

Disk and then drill 75 lbs of oats per acre

Then put down the recommended fertilizer with the following seeds:  .75 lbs of turnips, 20 lbs of crimson clover, and 45 lbs of TAM TBO.  Be prepared to spray for armyworms.  The top recommendation is a combination of 3.84 ounces of Lambda-Cy LE2 and 1 ounce of Dimilin 2L, this should give good extended control, a license is required for these products.  The second recommendation would be one quart of Sevin SL per acre.  It is best to strip graze the turnips.  After the turnips are grazed off the oats should be big enough to graze.  Then following the oats the crimson clover and ryegrass should carry you through till late next spring, of coarse providing we have good growing conditions with proper available nutrients.

Some may not want to apply the fertilizer with the ryegrass, turnips and clover because they feel that the warm season grasses will compete with the new seedling getting established.  This is true especially if you do not disk and it is still warm.  But if it is early and still warm and you do disk, you will set back the warm season grasses therefore the warm season grasses will not be competing with your little seedlings.  And when it does rain, these little seedlings will have the needed moisture and the needed nutrients to get established faster and therefore quicker grazing potential.  Now, if you have waited until after September 20th I would prefer to put the seed and the fertilizer out together as the nights are starting to cool and your warm season grasses are not going to be competing very much at this time.

To increase seedling vigor and getting fast establishment of plants we have a product called Seed Coat. Seed Coat is a proprietary blend of organically complex nutrients and is specifically designed to enhance seedling emergence and plant growth.  We are getting very good testimonies about this product.  Because we are short forage and moisture, we need to give our plants every opportunity to perform we can to take advantage of all moisture and growing time.  Application rate is 4 ounces per acre at a cost of around $3.25 per acre. 

Crimson clover is the best annual clover that can compete well with mixed blends of seed such as ryegrass.  Crimson clover provides excellent forage for both grazing and making hay.  Crimson clover; is the easiest clover to grow, has the best ability to come up through a thick thatch, can grow in most soils, can provide up to 120 lbs of nitrogen per acre.  Seed back is generally very poor.  Seeding rate is 20 lbs per acre. 

Arrow leaf, and Apache are good clovers for grazing late spring and if let go for hay they will make coarse hay due to the large stems.  One could expect 80 to 100 lbs of nitrogen from these clovers per acre.  Seed back is fair.  Seeding rate is 10 lbs per acre.

Ball Clover can grow in both sandy loam soil and hard tight soils.  Ball Clover is an excellent annual clover with great reseeding ability.  Ball clover works well in warm season grass pastures, therefore if you have these pasture you really need to plant ball clover.  One planting of 3 lbs per acre can last for several years.  Ball clover will provide excellent early spring grazing, which will help cut down your supplement and hay bill.  Ball clover can put down about 80 lbs of nitrogen.    

White clovers such as Durana and Patriot clovers are perennial clovers that can take very heavy grazing.  Soil pH should be well above 5.5.  Make sure that there is little or no thatch.  If seeding with ryegrass, plant no more than 10 lbs of ryegrass per acre, as the ryegrass will shade out the clover and then keep the cattle on it to keep the ryegrass ate down.  These clovers prefer sandy loam to tight soils, although with good management they will grow in sandy soils.  These clovers do very well in pastures and after they are established they will put down up to 150 lbs of nitrogen per acre.  These clovers may be planted into February.  It is best to plant after a killing frost.  3 lbs per acre planting rate. 

We are introducing several new clovers that show a great potential for our area.  These are the Southern Belle clover.  It will make excellent spring grazing and can be used for making a great hay crop.  If conditions are good, one planting may last two years.  It can provide almost as much nitrogen as the white clovers.

The Ocoee clover is a perennial clover if we have normal rain fall in our area.  It has a much larger leaf than white clovers, grows taller and is a very high forage producer.  If it is to be grazed it needs to be rotated to maintain the stand.  This clover should do very well on tight soils and probably can do well on sandy loam if managed properly. 

When planting clovers, make sure that the soil pH is at least 6.2, Arrow leaf and Apache clovers do better if the soil pH is 6.5 or above.  You can get your soil tested right here at the co-op and get proper recommendation as suggested from Texas A & M.  If you do not have a soil test put down 100 to 200 lbs of 9-23-30, this is a 50-50 blend of Dap and potash.  It may be beneficial to apply Boron in sandy soils.  You can apply both the fertilizer and the clover seed all together.

Which forage has the most protein?  If we have inoculated the clovers and other legumes, the inoculating bacteria will feed the plant nitrogen fixed from the air and therefore the plant will have nitrogen to both grow and to make protein with.  However, if the clover is not inoculated and the bacteria that are needed for that clover is not available two things happen, first if the soil is low in nitrogen, the plant will not grow very well and secondly if the nitrogen is not available from either the bacteria or from the soil the clover will be very low in protein.  On cereal rye, ryegrass or for that matter any other plant if the nitrogen is not there, the plant will be low in protein.  It requires 1 lb of nitrogen to make 6.25 lbs of protein.  Now, once we have the nitrogen available the protein content is going to be more dependent on how mature we harvest that plant.  The younger the plant the higher the protein and the older the plant the lower the protein content will be.  Clovers or legumes that are properly inoculated can have a protein content from 18% to 28%.  All other plants protein content will be dependant of how much nitrogen was available.  That is why testing the soil is so critical.  Nitrogen fertilizer is the least cost way of getting protein to your livestock. 

For information of seedbed preparation check out the article on: Management tips to improve fall seeding success.

The information contained in this article is the general rule; there may be exceptions due to circumstances in which we have no control over.