Improving Cool-Season Pastures with Interseeding Annuals and Grazing, Update 2016
In a Nutshell
Interseeding annuals into pastures increases forage diversity, quality, and quantity. Bruce Carney developed seed mixtures and interseeded them into existing cool season pastures. • Seed mixtures vastly increased pasture diversity. Grazing management to harvest or trample forage at the right time and to a proper degree is essential to feed both livestock and soil microbes.
During the establishment year in 2014, few advantages were seen in grazing days or forage yield, but a baseline was established for future comparison. In 2015, two fields were seeded once with a cool season mix, and one field was seeded multiple times with cool and warm season mixes. Total tons of dry matter harvested by cattle or baled was greater in 2015 than 2014; animal unit days provided from forage produced were doubled from year 2014 to year 2015. After multiple interseedings and two years of rotational grazing on three pastures, compaction near the soil surface (<6 inches) increased but decreased deeper down (>21 inches).