Reseeding Patchy Pasture Areas - UNL CropWatch, April 5, 2013
April 5, 2013
If you’re seeing thin or dead patches in your pasture this spring, don’t let them go. Reseed and reclaim these areas within your existing pasture program before weeds overrun them and expand into your good grass.
Reseed these areas following the same basic guidelines as planting a whole new pasture. Prepare a firm, weed-free seedbed. This might be as simple as spraying first to kill existing weeds and then using a no-till drill to seed. Or, it might require vigorous tillage, followed by packing the soil well before planting with appropriate equipment that places seed just slightly below the soil surface on the right date.
Selecting seed may be one of your biggest challenges. When selecting seed, first decide if this reseeded patch will be part of a larger pasture or become a separate pasture. If it’s part of a larger pasture, it is critical that you plant the same kind of plants that will be next to it when you add it back to the existing pasture. Otherwise, if you plant something livestock like better, they’ll overgraze it. And, if they don’t like it as well, they won’t graze it.
Keeping out cattle to allow sufficient time for new seedlings to develop is another major challenge. Be sure to fence animals out until new plants are well established. If you graze it too soon, animals will pull out or trample the new grass and you'll have to reseed it again. Often it may be better to take a cutting for hay before starting to graze it.
Extension Forage Specialist