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Do You Know the Best Seeding Rate for Your Forage Stand?

Posted: Apr 23, 2021

Benefits to Seeding at a Proper Rate

Forage seed varies by size and weight, just like any other seed does as you move between different crop type and species. And like any other crop, there are benefits to making sure that you are planting the right amount of seeds per square foot in the spring. Choosing the right rate can mean less competition from weeds and better yield, or even less disease and better persistence.

The best seeding rate is the one that is going to give you the desired number of plants per square foot. But it isn’t always a simple calculation. Seeding rate can be affected by the forage species, seed size, your seeding method, row spacing, and how much rain you get in a year. The more productive your soils are – better organic matter and higher moisture, the more seed per square foot it can handle, and the better yield you will see at the end of the day.

How to Find the Best Rate

Forage seeds are small, light and often chaffy, so it can be helpful to mix the seed with cracked grain, companion crop seed or use coated seed to improve seed flow and help ensure that you’re getting the right number of seeds into the ground.

You likely aren’t going to be planting a pure stand, although if you are, you’re in luck. Our seeding rate guide shows you the best seeding rate for your pure stand forage based by soil type.

If You’re Planting a Blend, These are a Few Things to Consider:

  • Blends created by % weight are very different than blends created by % seed count. For example, when meadow bromegrass (90,000 seeds per lb) and timothy (1,200,000 seeds per lb) are blended 50/50 by weight it will actually provide 93% timothy and 7% meadow brome by seed count.
  • Always calculate each blend component by seed count to understand how many seeds of each species per pound will actually be planted. Here is a seeding rate calculator from Forage U-pick that can help you with this math.
  • To make sure your seeding rate is going to give you the proper number of plants per square foot, you can double check it by performing this calculation:

                           Seeding rate (lb/ac) X Total seeds per pound    =  Plant Population per Square Foot
                                                  43,560

Your retailer, crop advisor, and BrettYoung Regional Account Manager are all here to help you in deciding on the seeding rate for your forages to help you get the best from your quality BrettYoung seed. Ask about the BrettYoung Forage Blend Calculator to assist with your seeding rate recommendations.

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