Penn State
ForagesPeopleTopicsResourcesSelection ToolContact Info


Topics : Successful Forage Establishment

Successful Forage Establishment

  • Planning One Year Ahead to Improve Establishment Success
  • Planning Six Months Ahead to Improve Establishment Success
  • Following Sound Tillage and Seeding Practices:
  • Properly Manage Young Forage Seedings

Download the Successful Forage Crop Establishment document in Adobe PDF format.

Additional Forage Establishment Information via the Forage Information System (FIS)


Following Sound Seeding Practices: Selecting a Seeding Date

Late Summer. Late-summer seedings of forages are generally most successful in Pennsylvania. An early maturing grain crop can be grown and harvested, the seedbed prepared, and the forage crop seeded before late August. Fall rains and cool temperatures provide an ideal environment for forage seedling growth and establishment.

Spring. Spring forage seedings are popular throughout Pennsylvania and can be equally successful as late-summer seedings. However, wet soil conditions make preparing a good seedbed difficult, weed competition is generally greater, and the possibility of summer droughts all increase the risks of spring forage seedings.

Winter. Winter seedings or frost seedings are generally not as successful as late-summer or spring seedings, but they are not as costly. Winter seeding involves spinning forage seeds onto the frozen ground (generally to thicken an existing forage stand or to establish a forage crop into a fall-seeded small grain). It is more successful if completed during a time period when the soil is not snow covered and is freezing at night and thawing during the day. Traditionally, clovers are the easiest and grasses are the most difficult forages to establish with this seeding method.