xt73bk16nj34 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt73bk16nj34/data/mets.xml   Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. 1944 journals kaes_circulars_004_402_02 English Lexington : The Service, 1913-1958. Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station Circular (Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station) n. 402 text Circular (Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station) n. 402 1944 2014 true xt73bk16nj34 section xt73bk16nj34 )l1y·
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  PAS’l'U RE
xsscd Circular 402
15 to
cl by
I ai}; Collcgc of Agriculfurc und Home Economics
and Extension Division
r____r_ Thomos P. Cooper, Doon ond Dirumor
2, 1944
8 and ·

 A I
U ` Page
Grasses ............... , ............................... 3 ?
Legumes .......... . ................................. · · S `
TIME OF SEEDING ....................................... 7
Fall Seeding ........................................... 7
Spring Seeding ......................................... B
Summer Seeding ....................................... I0
i NURSE CROPS ........................................... 10
SOWING THE SEED ...............................,...... 12
This rirrulmi is n rmwxinn nf Crrrulnr 242.
Lexington, Kentucky Augtligii
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  3(B(?0{J§]1`:tiHg. TIIOHIHS P. Cooper, DiT8CfOT. Acts approved by Congress May 8 End

 Seeding Meadow and Pasture Crops
By E. _[. Kmxm', I{r\L1’1i K1;NN1;Y, and E. N. Fmacus
Frequent failures in seeding pasture and meadow crops are
extremely discouraging. While the chances of failure are greater
in seeding pasture and meadow grasses and legumes than with
most other farm crops, many of the failures which occur can be
attributed to poor judgment in seeding or to an unwise choice of
seeding practices, rather than to unavoidable causes. ln general,
farmers who choose the right crops, use good seed of adapted
varieties, and follow dependable seeding practices have little dif-
ficulty in getting good stands of pasture and meadow crops.
Many failures occur, of course, because of low soil produc-
tivity. Attention should therefore be given to lime and fertilizer
requirements of the soil during preparation of the seedbed. Treat-
ments in general should be the same as recommended by the
Experiment Station for other general crops, except that somewhat
more consideration should be given to the need for nitrogen.
Many soils of the state are too low in nitrogen to enable young
grass and clover seedlings to become established. Plowing under
a green-manure crop of cowpeas, soybeans, sweet clover or other
legume, or applying lOO to l5O pounds per acre of nitrate of soda,
or the equivalent of another fertilizer, at the time of seeding will
help greatly to prevent seeding failures.
The choice of crops for pastures and meadows in Kentucky
depends upon a number of factors. The most important of these
are: (l) soil conditions, (2) length of time the pasture or meadow
is to stand, (3) kind of livestock for which the forage is to be used,
and (4) the frequency with which certain diseases occur. Cost ol
seeding also determines the choice of crop in many (instances,
but this consideration should not have as much weight as is often
E given it.
321;}*; Kentucky bluegrass is perhaps the most desirable pasture crop,
and under many conditions, that can be grown in Kentucky. The only

 4 Fxtrwsmixi Cmcm..uz No. 402
part of the state where it is sufficiently productive to be profitable
without soil treatment is in the limestone region of central and
northern Kentucky, known to all the country as the "Bluegrass
Region." Experiments on some of the soil experiment fields out-
side this area have shown that excellent bluegrass can be grown
by the liberal use of limestone and phosphate fertilizers. Blue-
· grass in connection with white clover, or other legumes,_gives
practically permanent pastures; and wherever the control of soil ·
. erosion necessitates keeping rolling and steep land in pasture
more or less permanently, no other pasture crop is so valuable as
vigorous bluegrass.
Orchard grass is not so lasting as bluegrass, but is fully as
productive on good land and much more productive on soils of
moderate fertility. It should be regarded primarily as·a pasture
crop, but it is also a fair hay crop. A mixture of orchard grass and
lespedeza produces more pasture under average soil conditions
_ outside the Bluegrass area than any other combination.
Redtap is not so long-lived as orchard grass, except on wet,
heavy soil. For soil of this character the best pasture mixture is
redtop and lespedeza. On uplands, redtop is valuable chiefly to
furnish pasturage while slower-growing crops are becoming estab- _
lished, as it usually disappears in a few years. It is excellent to
sow with bluegrass.
Timothy is the best hay grass for Kentucky, except on wet
land, where redtop is superior. Timothy is also perhaps the best
grass for short-time pastures. The cost of seeding timothy is
small, and getting a stand is easy. Timothy is not a good poor-
land grass, however.
Reed canary grass may prove of much value on wet land. This
grass is not injured when flooded even for quite long periods. lt
is adapted for both pasture and hay. Farmers who have wet bot-
tom _land should give this grass a trial.
Bermuda grass, despite its bad reputation as a pest, has quali-
ties that recommend it as a pasture grass in Kentucky under cer-
tain conditions, particularly in mixtures for land that should sel-
dom, if ever, be plowed.
Smooth bromegrass of Nebraska origin is worthy of trials in
Kentucky, especially with alfalfa for hay and pasture.
Kentucky 3`I meadow fescue is one of the most drouth resistant
grasses suitable for use in Kentucky and is adapted to practically
all soils of the state.

 Sl·QlCI)lN(L hllCAl7()\\' ANI) l).·\S'Iil}lll·Z CR()l’$  
lb"? L e g u m e s
Ear; Alfalfa. There is much difference of opinion among farmers
wb in Kentucky as to the relative merits of various legumes, both for
Dwn hay and for pasture. Certainly no other legume produces so large
lU€_ an amount of hay of the highest quality as alfalfa, where soil con-
NGS ditions are favorable. This is generally admitted. It is often ar-
SOH , gued, however, that alfalfa is not a practical crop because of the
Ure cost of preparing land for its growth, particularly the cost of lim-
2 GS ing, and the difficulty of establishing a stand. Actually, however,
alfalfa is not more difficult to establish than any other meadow
crop, as any experienced grower will testify. The use of lime and
f GS phosphate is expensive but, at the same time, highly profitable
S Ol on most Kentucky soils outside the Bluegrass region, whatever
mfg the crop grown.
Egg Lespedeza is perhaps the most productive legume that can be
grown in Kentucky without soil treatment; yet liming and the use
of phosphate usually increase the yield of hay—-and of course of
wel' pasture also——enough to pay for the cost of treatment in a short
9 IS time. This has been proved conclusively on the soil experiment
ic;) fields of the Kentucky Experiment Station.
t TO ` The annual lespedezas are by far the most extensively grown
legumes in Kentucky. They grow well on worn land that has had
WE., an application of lime and phosphate. Alone, they are not an
best entirely satisfactory pasture crop because they furnish pasturage
Y is . for a short time only; hence they should always be sown with one
OOP or more grasses. The natural period of growth of the lespedezas
is when grasses are more or less dormant, and they furnish the
This nitrogen necessary for a good growth of grass during spring and
W It fall. They reseed themselves almost indefinitely, and the forage
bO,,_ is palatable to all kinds of livestock. In Kentucky, where pastures
ought to occupyi a large part of the farm land, the lespedezas are
MIL highly valuable legumes.
cer- Korean and Kobe lespedeza produce excellent crops of hay
sel- on good land, and a large acreage is used for hay production, par-
ticularly in western Kentucky. The hay is easily cured and of very
s in good quality if cut at the proper stage. It is not equal to good
alfalfa hay, however, according to feeding tests at the Kentucky
.tant Experiment Station. Both these lespedezas are more affected by
:al|y drouth than alfalfa. A dry July may prevent Korean-—the most
extensively grown variety—-from getting tall enough to mow, and

 li l£X'll·ZNSl()N Cmcuniuz No. 402
a dry August may similarly affect Kobe. Weeds are often trouble-
some because of the slow growth of lespedeza early in the season.
However, the lespedezas have many advantages, the two most
important of which are cheapness of seeding and the certainty of
getting a stand.
» Korean lespedeza occupies a very large proportion of the les-
` pedeza acreage in the state, but there are enthusiastic supporters
of Kobe, particularly in southwestern counties. Korean matures
· much earlier than Kobe, and produces enormous crops of seed.
There is thus little danger of its not reseeding itself in pastures.
The seed yield is so much larger than that of Kobe that seed can
be sold profitably at a lower cost. It seems likely that Korean is
preferable for hay production, both because it can be seeded
cheaper and because its early maturity is an advantage in curing
the hay. However, its early maturity is a disadvantage from the A
standpoint of pasture production. Kobe remains green until frost
and furnishes pasture two or three weeks longer than Korean.
Common lespedeza, or Japan clover, is now seldom sown in
|ted. be sown in the fall, and this practice is so generally successful that
vail- it ought to be followed whenever possible. Young orchard grass
is not so winter-hardy as the other grasses and, unless the seed is

 S Ex‘1‘nNsroN Cmcuium No. 402
sown by the first of October, it is better to woit until lote winter.
Not only is the chonce of getting o stond much better if the grosses
ore sown in the foll, but the donger of losing the stond the follow-
ing seoson is lessened. The plonts become well estoblished ond
ore thus better oble to withstond the competition of weeds ond `
. nurse crop the following seoson. Foll seeding of Kentucky blue-
—. gross is pcirticulorly odvisobleg os o motter of foct, it is usuolly o
woste of seed to sow it in the field ot ony other time. ln Kentucky,
, the period when gross moy be sown successfully in the foll extends V
from September l to October l5. September lO to 2O moy be
regorded os the most fovoroble time. Good stonds moy be ob-
toined, os o rule, by sowing os lote os November l; but the plonts
moke such o smoll growth before freezing weother thot they moy
be lifted out of the ground during the winter.
Few of the legumes ore sufficiently winter—hordy in the eorly
stoges of growth to be sown sofely in the foll. Alfolfo is o very
ropid—growing legume ond, if sown eorly in September, usucilly
becomes lorge enough to survive ci moderote winter, especiolly in
the southern port of the stote. Summer seeding, to be discussed
loter, is much sofer, however. Hop clover seed germinotes notur— .
olly in the foll ond, opporently, the smoll seedlings ore seldom
· winter-killed. Yellow trefoil, or block medic, is similcir to hop
clover in obility to withstond cold weother in the seedling stoge.
Spring Seeding
When it is impossible to sow in the foll, grosses should be sown
in lote winter or very eorly spring. Good stonds of oll the grosses
except bluegross moy often be obtoined by sowing in oots, pro-
vided the oots ore sown in lote Morch or eorly April ond not seeded
too heovily. lt should be emphosized thot most of the grosses ore
very cold-resistont ond ore oble to withstond freezing weother oncl
heovy frosts much better thon hot, dry weother. Even the sproutecl
seeds ore not often injured by freezing weother.
Bermudo gross is best estoblished in Kentucky by setting
pieces of rooted stems rother thon by seeding. These pieces of
stems should be spoced 2 to 4 feet oport eoch woy. A good woy
is to press the cuttings into the bottom of o shollow furrow with
the foot.
Smooth bromegross ond Kentucky 3l fescue should be sown
ot obout the some rotes ond in the some woy os orchord gross.

 Smzmwc Mmnow AND PASTURE Cizovs 9
Nl¤’f€F. There is considerable difference of opinion, even among very
JFGSSGS experienced farmers, as to what time in the spring is best for seed-
follow- ing any particular legume. Getting a good stand is not the only
rd Gnd consideration, and the use of a practice very successful in produc-
is and " ing good stands may often be responsible. for the loss of the stand
i blue- later. For example, the chances of getting a good stand of Korean
Jally a Iespedezo are probably better from seeding in early spring than
itucky, from later seedings; but Iespedezo is easily killed by heavy frosts
xtends V and there is danger, in early seeding, of losing the stand from this
tay be cause. Many experienced growers therefore prefer to wait until
be ob- late March or early April rather than to run the risk of losing the
plants stand. On the Experiment Station farm, rather early spring seed-
ay may ing in a fall-sown nurse crop, or on an unprepared seedbed when
sown alone, proved more reliable than later seedings, but not
2 early better where the Iespedezo was sown in spring oats or on a loose
G Very seedbed.
JSUGIW The young plants of red and alsike clover are not easily in-
Glly in lured by cold, but the sprouted seeds often are killed by freezing
rcussed weather if exposed on the surface of the ground. The old and
naw,. g widely followed practice of seeding clover in late winter or early
Seldom spring is usually successful if the seeds become well covered. This
,0 hcp fails so often, however, that a larger percentage of gocd stands
Smge is possibly obtained from later seeding.
The sweet clovers, or melilots, are similar to red and alsike
clovers in cold resistance. In many lots of sweet clover seed a
large percentage of the seeds are hard. Some hard seeds will lie
e sown in the ground for a year or more without germinating. In most
grasses instances a few weeks’ exposure softens the seed coats sufficiently
‘s, pro- to permit germination. The poor germination of sweet clover
seeded seed led to the invention and use of a scarifying machine which
ses are scratches the seed coats. This treatment ensures prompt germina-
ner and tion. lt has been found, however, that scarification injures seed
>routerl to some extent and impairs its keeping quality. Scarified seed
should therefore not be kept long in storage. Some growers think
Setting that scarified seeds produce weak plants, and prefer unhullecl
ECQS Of seed. By sowing in winter, so the seed coats have time to soften,
Bd Way good stands usually are obtained. For spring seeding, the seed
W with should be scarified, unless germination tests have shown it to be
Alfalfa probably should not be sown until danger of severe
E SOWH freezin th ` t, L t M h l A 'I d'n ma
_ g wea er is pas a e arc or eary pn see i gs y
°$‘ he regarded as safest.

 10 ICXTFNSION (llR(1UItAR Na. 402
Summer Seeding §F¤F
For summer seeding, land should be plowed and worked down gl;
as long as possible before seeding time. The field must be har- true
rowed at intervals, to keep down weeds. This method of handling gun
gives a mellow seedbed which absorbs the rainfall for the use of Of C
the crop, Seeding by the 20th of August is advisable if moisture USL,.
l conditions become favorable. ln late summer, soil does not pack gm
so hard as in the spring, and crusts very little. lt is possible, there- CVO
` fore, to cover the small seeds deep enough that good stands of suc]
some pasture and meadow crops can be obtained on we||—preparecl mg
seedbeds, with limited rainfall. Perhaps only alfalfa, timothy and Ogg
orchard grass can be sown to advantage in late summer, although Sim
fair success can be had with the clovers. When seedings are made Cmd
in August without a nurse crop, alfalfa, timothy, and clovers give
good crops of clean hay the following season, and orchard grass moi
makes excellent pasture. SOW
Summer seeding of alfalfa has been practiced in Kentucky ` G fr
for many years, and many growers think it is the best way to get pric
a good, clean field of this Iegume. It affords almost perfect con- Mo
trol of weeds, which is an important feature in sowing on weedy rye
N land. ‘ spri
Probably it is not practical to sow timothy and orchard grass ll*€
in the summer except where failure from fall or spring seeding Of C
has occurred, because of the greater expense. lU*‘€
’ blue
Reseeding old meadows and pastures is seldom profitable, be- Unc
cause a depleted soil is usually the cause of the poor stand. lf the WEE
sod is fairly good, it may be top—dressed with lime or a phosphate per
fertilizer, or both, and reseeded. Occasionally, however, pasture Cml
or meadow sods on good soil may be thin or lacking in a desirable by l
plant. Under such conditions, reseeding usually is satisfactory if Or E
clone during late winter, on a short sod.
Sowing pasture and meadow crops with one of the small grains, Wlll
usually called a nurse crop, is the common practice in Kentucky ln l
and, as a rule, it is a wise one. The chief advantage of the nurS€ Em

 Smsnmc Mmnow imp PASTURE Ckovs 11
crop is that it checks development of weeds. In many seasons it
is practically impossible to prevent weeds from destroying stands
Wn of young grasses and legumes sown alone in fall or spring. lt is
°" true that the nurse crop checks the growth of the grasses and Ie-
l“9 gumes and is often responsible for the loss of stand during periods
Ol of dry weather. However, the competition of the nurse crop is not
·*"€ usually so dangerous as the competition of weeds. Lodging of the
mk grain crop is another cause of loss of stands, but this may be
l"€‘ avoided by posturing fields where growth is too rank. Pasturing in
Ol such instances usually benefits thelgrain crop also. Besides check-
"Qd ing the development of weeds, the nurse crop affords protection
md against erosion, and in Kentucky this is extremely important. Ero-
'Qll sion may be very serious on even slightly rolling land where pasture
ide and meadow crops are sown alone on a specially prepared seedbed.
We The amount of hay or pasturage furnished the first year by
ass most grasses and legumes is little larger, as a rule, where they are
sown alone than where a nurse crop is used. When grain brings