I learned how to inter-seed pasture just using common lawn care tools in one of my classes, it works really well for small-scale applications!
When we first moved in, our pasture was a disaster! It was super full of weeds and I wasn’t sure any grass would grow. We did a 2-4D application and a fertilizer application and I got some grass to grow! We didn’t end up being able to irrigate so it didn’t grow very well after it got hot. This year, I wanted to continue to improve it. I learned how to inter-seed pasture just using common lawn care tools in one of my classes and it works really well for small-scale applications! My pasture grass right now is probably just Kentucky Bluegrass that spread from the lawn and some quack grass, which is really a weed, and then a lot of other weeds, still :). My hope is to force out the weeds by favoring the grasses and by spot treating the rest of the weeds.
The first thing I wanted to do was inter-seed. I decided to go with Perennial Ryegrass for a few different reasons. The main reason was that it’s very quick growing, I wouldn’t have to rest it for a season to let the grass establish. It is also very palatable. The downsides to Perennial Rye is it isn’t very hardy. In this area, I will have to re-seed again in 3 years. But it is also the cheapest grass seed so I’m not bothered by that. Since I am just inter-seeding, I went on the low end of the seeding rate and I am doing 10 lbs per acre.
Another important note about seeds: make sure you buy quality seed! I cannot stress that enough. I don’t recommend buying seed from a local country store. I recommend going to a company that specializes in seed. They will give you a certified seed and a label that guarantees it’s purity and germ. No sense in spending money on seed to only have it not grow or not be pure seed.
I also bought some red clover seed. Legumes are a wonderful mix to any sward but you have to be careful. Because they have the potential to bloat your animals, you want to be sure they aren’t more than 25% of your mix. I only bought a pound so I am going a little less than that. These seeds are so tiny and cute.
I don’t have a tractor or anything so this is how I planted. I just did a broadcast seeding and I used fertilizer spreaders. Where it wasn’t to rocky to push, I used this push spreader.
Then when I needed to walk I used this little handheld fertilizer spreader.
I weighed the seed on my handy dandy feed scale and then estimated how much of the pasture I would need to cover. I am just doing half at a time right now. It isn’t the most exact method by far but it worked pretty well.
Inter-seeding is a great way to increase the productivity of your pasture without all the work of completely re-seeding. Most of the time, you don’t have to replace! You can just improve!