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Forage Establishment in Mississippi

Forage production, stand persistence, and economic returns depend on proper forage establishment of pasture and hay fields. Successful forage establishment depends on proper seeding rate, planting depth, and planting date.

A seeding rate that is too low can allow for more weed competition. A seeding rate that is too high will cost more than necessary and waste seed. If seed is placed too deeply, seedlings may not emerge. Shallow seeding allows the seed to dry out too soon, be moved out of place by rain, or be consumed by birds, all resulting in stand loss.

Planting depth also depends on soil preparation; a seedbed that is too soft can result in deeper seed placement. In addition,
the smaller the diameter of the seed, the shallower that seed should be planted.

This guide provides seeding rates, planting depths, and planting dates for common grass and legume species grown in Mississippi. Table 1 provides ranges for seeding rates and planting depths for pure stands. Lower seeding rates in the range are for species established in a prepared seedbed using a drill, while the higher seeding rates are recommended when planting in grass sod with a no-till drill or when broadcasting the seed (prepared seedbed or sod)

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