Sod-seeding for pasture rejuvenation: a review
Peer Reviewed StatusNon-Peer Reviewed
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Pasture productivity declines over time and producers need tools to rejuvenate pastures to restore productivity and ensure environmental and economic sustainability. Sod-seeding for pasture rejuvenation has been researched for 40 years in the region but little adoption of the technique has been observed. This review reports that water is a critical factor to successful seedling establishment after sod-seeding. The number of seedlings established was less in the Brown soil zone than in the Grey soil zone. However, more rainfall appears to be required for successful establishment in the Parkland than in the Prairie region. Removal of competition from the existing plants by herbicide application prior to sod-seeding improves the successful establishment of new seedlings but frequently results in less forage production in the seeding year. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) has been successfully seeded in all soil zones while cicer milkvetch (Astragalus cicer L.) has shown good success in the Parkland region. Research results with fertilizer application are limited but P fertilizer at seeding can provide for enhanced seedling growth and establishment. Seeding equipment was limiting in many older research studies with inadequate depth control and variable seed placement. Modern zero-till crop drills in the Canadian Prairies were developed for cereal and oilseed cropping but have the necessary penetration, depth control, minimal soil and litter disturbance and on-row packing to be used in sod-seeding. Spring or late fall (dormant) seeding dates are recommended for sod-seeding. Further research is suggested on alternative legume species and adaptation to water stress to improve our understanding of sod-seeding in the Canadian Prairies.
Part OfSoils and Crops Workshop
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