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How do I stop putting down too much seed
Just got done frost seeding with a hand spreader. Same problem keeps happening year after year. Each year I think this year is going to be different and I really focus on hardly putting out a small amount of see as I walk.
I want to put down 5-7 lbs per acre. I end up putting down almost twice that much. If I put the amount of seed I want on the entire plot in the spreader, I run out before I have covered the whole plot. I swear I am hardly putting out any seed and then...BAM, I am out of seed before I know it.
Anyone have a tried and true method they use? The touchy- feely estimate as you go method ain't working so neat.
Split your seed into two equal amounts and spread the first half of it while walking east-west, then do the other half of it going north-south. The first amount can give you a bit of a feel for if you need to speed up or slow down somewhat on the second amount, plus, by going E-W then N-S, I feel you get a more even seeding. If you’re seeding clover/chicory, seeding a little heavy doesn’t hurt anything other than your pocketbook. Brassicas, especially turnips, it’s very important not to seed too heavy.
It’s a bit of a pain, but even if you have to make several passes, that’s better than your hopper being empty 2/3rds of the way through. Small plots aren’t too bad, but bigger ones kinda suck doing it that way. On bigger plots, I use an ATV mounted spreader and go over the plot with several passes vs trying to put just the right amount out in a single pass.
Good suggestions from T-Roy. Also remember that many of the deer head bags are coated seeds and if your plot needs 3lbs per acre you need to spread enough to make up for the coating and sometimes that can be 2x the weight. Read the tag, it will tell you how much of the weight is coatring,
I'm with T-Roy, I would walk fifteen miles going over and over and over and over in every direction in my plot with the spreader barely cracked so that I would get seed out on every inche.
Our guys do a lot of reclamation seeding on oil and gas right of ways.
A couple things we do that seems to help:
Make sure your seeder is working properly. The ones we use have the slider down by the crank that controls distribution rate. We go through quite a few seeders every year because our guys are hard on stuff and most of the components on the seeders are plastic. We always check them out before each use.
Make sure you are walking at a steady pace and don't overlap your broadcast range by more than a foot or two to maximize coverage.
Most of the time we operate on the philosophy of "Seed it strong or seed it wrong.". It's better for us to over seed once than have to go back and reseed due to sparse growth. This is strictly a dollars and cents decision and may not apply to your application.
Best of luck to you!
Thanks T-Roy. I have tried using half the seed to go North and South, keeping the other half to go East and West.
What usually happens is I run out about 3/4 done the first pass, rob seed from what was going to be the 2nd pass that was set aside, finish the first pass. Then I think I will spred ultra lite going East and West, and will run out of seed 1/2 way through that pass. I end up of getting more seed to finish that pass. Then I think...next year will be different, but it never is. Nonetheless, that is the best method I have tried though.
Pat, I never thought about the seed being coated. Great point. I likely am not over shooting my mark as much as I had thought.
You just have to barely crack the seeder. I generally end up making 3-4 passes, but feel like I get a pretty even distribution. I do like T-Roy said and go E-W and then N-S and then E-W again if need be. It can be hard to get used to, I always feel like it’s not open enough, but I’d rather make an extra pass than run out
2 directional spreading is very good for more uniform coverage. To solve Osceola's problem there really is only 2 fixes. Either walk faster or lower the setting on the spreader.
All great suggestions, when I started I kept a log on what I did the season before... took me 5 seasons to hone in on my perfect plot. Now 25 yrs later I take a bag get a handful and give it the ole "feed the chickens" motion, frost seeding.
for bigger plots I go to home depot and buy a $5 package of wood stakes, and grid off your area in halves, thirds, quarters, etc. depending on how big it is. You don't really need string lines, but the stakes give you a good landmark to go off of. I usually lay the stakes out while looking at On-X to quantify exact areas. Take your seed and divide it into separate buckets accordingly and then start. Much easier to monitor as you go this way. As others have said, start off as light as possible and you can always come back over it with left overs. The price of switchgrass seed will make you want to get it right the first time!
Another thing that helps with extremely small seed is to mix it with pelletized lime. Limes cheap, and your plot more often than not could use it anyways. Just make sure your small seeds aren't consolidating to the bottom of your spreader causing the mix to go down unevenly. It's usually not an issue if using a hand spreader, but ATV mounted spreaders tend to vibrate your small seeds to the bottom.
Buy a bag of play sand from the box store and mix it 75/25 with your smaller seed like clover...spreads it out evenly and cheap. Key is the sand needs to be good and dry and like stated above, several passes.
Adjust your seeder smaller. Or do not hold the chute open so far if that’s how your seeder works. And walk faster while cranking slower.
i add corn meal to my seed.
We have used Whitty's method for years. It works great but may result in making a couple of extra passes until you get the calibration set.