Overseeding can be managed by aerial or machine processes for a good spread of seed. A benefit of overseeding is a reduction of herbicide use, reducing the risk of harm to livestock. In locations known to experience hurricanes, it is recommended to overseed prior to the hurricane as they provide an ideal setting for seed germination and are a great opportunity to make grazing fields denser. Make note to use appropriate cover crops based on the season.
Overseeding Cover Crops
In some areas, cover crops typically don’t have enough time to grow, especially in the fall months when temperatures start to drop. In order to manage cover crops, they need to be intercropped into existing cash crops. Some methods of overseeding cover crops are aerial, push seeders, and using an inter-seeder, which has the option of using tubes to drop the seeds below or above the cash crop.
To ensure a sufficient window of time for the cover crop to grow, overseeding prior to harvest may be necessary. A minimum of four to six weeks is usually required to grow cover crops, so overseed earlier if post-harvest seeding does not allow for that timeframe. It is important to have at least 50 percent of the sunlight passing the cover of cash crops to the ground. Certain crops can grow in low temperature conditions, such as winter cereals like wheat, rye or barley and can be planted later. Avoid seeding in immature corn as it can cause seeds to germinate and get moldy due to moist and low-light conditions.
Aerial overseeding is ideal for larger farmland or when it is cost effective. It is recommended to use manual or inter-seeders on smaller land or when dealing with land occupied by wind turbines. When dealing with soybeans or corn, wait till the leaves yellow and begin to wilt before overseeding. The leaves act as a cover to hold moisture and seeds are more likely to land in soil, providing ideal conditions for germination.