Sowing and seeding
Conventional, minimum-till and no-till sowing are the most common sowing and seeding methods used to establish forage crops.
Assuming sufficient moisture at sowing time, achieving good soil to seed contact and the right sowing depth for the particular crop are the most important factors influencing germination and establishment. Broadcasting seed can be used, however, this method often results in poor soil to seed contact and germination and is rarely used.
Some crops are better suited to particular sowing methods eg better establishment is generally achieved with brassicas when they are sown using conventional methods. While particular sowing methods are better suited to particular climates and soil types. It is advisable to seek local advice before deciding on the best sowing or seeding method for a particular situation.
Conventional sowing, through cultivation and the use of harrows or press wheels
- Superior forage crop establishment is often achieved due to improved germination due to good soil to seed contact as a result of a fine tilth or seed bed.
- Significant germination of weeds, care must be taken to control these weeds to minimise competition with the establishing forage crop.
- Loss of soil moisture necessary for forage crops.
Minimum and no-till sowing
- Preserving soil structure.
- Minimising the potential for erosion.
- Minimising the number of weeds that may germinate to compete with the forage crop.
- Protecting stored soil moisture.
- Achieving good soil to seed contact is more challenging than with conventional sowing or seeding, equipment must be checked regularly.