[MUSIC] Frost seeding or broadcasting seed on
top of the ground during the dormant season is not only an effective method
for establishing food plot species like clovers, but it also is an effective
method for establishing native warm-season grass and forb mixtures. On
top of that frost seeding is a great way to thicken up stands of perennial clover
that may be old and have thinned over time. Frost seeding relies on the natural
freeze-thaw cycle as well as the wet-dry periods of soil to help work the seed
into the ground. This helps you achieve the proper
planting depth and seed to soil contact needed for germination. Frost seeding also
helps break the natural dormancy cycle of a lot of our native forb species. One
of the major problems when planting small seeds like clovers or native
grasses and forbs is burying the seed too deep. Frost seeding on top of the
ground ensures that you have the right planting depth which will aid in
germination. Frost seeding is also a cheaper alternative to other methods of
establishments such as no-till drilling or conventional planning and usually
does not require very much specialized equipment. Generally frost seeding can be
done with as little as a hand seed spreader but can also use an ATV or
tractor with a mechanical seed spreader. It’s not necessary for the soil to be
frozen in order to frost seed but the soil at least needs to be firm enough
for the equipment to drive over the surface. We will be going over the
equipment that you need to frost seed as well as how to calibrate the seed
spreader. When spreading fluffy seed like native grass and forb mixtures, it’s
important to use a carrier that will help you ensure that the seed flows well
through the spreader and is spread evenly across the field. Carriers can be
anything from pelletized lime, soybean meal, crack corn, wheat or oats, but you
should avoid using any nitrogen fertilizer as a carrier. Today we’ll be
using pelt lime at a rate of 200 pounds per acre. Generally carriers are not
needed when you’re spreading seed like clover. The equipment you need to frost
seed could be a tractor, a truck, or an ATV with a broadcast or cyclone spreader.
These are typically sold as fertilizer or seed spreaders and can be PTO driven,
electric, or pull behind models. Ideally you would want a broadcast seeder with
an agitator that would help you stir the seed as you spread. Smaller areas can be
frost seeded with nothing more than a hand seed spreader. The first step in the
frost seeding process is calibrating our broadcast seeder. To do this we need two
pieces of information, the first is the effective swath width or how wide the
seed spreader is throwing the seed. The second is how much seed are we spreading
over a given area. Once we know these two pieces information, we can then adjust
our rate to match our desired rate. To calibrate the spreader, we need to set up
a course, in this case 100 feet, to determine the swath width and the output
of the seed spreader. This can be done on a paved area or in the field that you
will be planting. We first load the spreader with a known amount of our seed
mix, in this case 20 pounds. And while someone is standing behind the spreader,
we will spread the mix the length of the course. We will then measure the width
the mix would broadcast across the field and weigh the remainder of the mix from
the spreader. The difference between the initial weight of the product and the
remaining weight is the amount of product we spread over a hundred feet.
Multiply the swath width or how wide the seed spreader is spreading, in our case
18 feet, by a hundred and that will give us our total area covered. We then divide
this number by 43,560 or the amount of square feet in an acre and
that will give us our total area covered in acres. Now you divide the pounds of
product that you spread by the area that you spread in acres, and this will give you
the calibrated rate of product per acre. You can repeat the process, adjusting
your opening, depending on if you need to increase or decrease the rate. The seed
output is adjusted by increasing or decreasing the size of the opening that
is regulated by the seed gate. Most seed spreaders have a chart on the side of
the spreader that lists commonly spread materials and the recommended opening
size for that material. This serves as a good starting point and a good reference
point when you’re starting the calibration process, but more than likely you’ll have
to adjust the seed size opening to ensure that you have the proper planting
rate. A good rule of thumb is to calibrate our seed spreader at or just
below our recommended planting rate. We can always make multiple passes across
the field to use up any extra seed, but if we calibrate our seed spreader too
heavy then we’re gonna run out of seed before we finish the field.
Now that you’ve calibrated your broadcast seeder, you’re ready to seed. [MUSIC]