Considerations with late summer seeding of forages

August 15, 2019 2:44 PM
Blog Post

Now is the time to be doing late summer seeding of forages. This ICM article Steve Barnhart, retired Extension forage specialist, wrote does a nice job providing basic information to successfully establish a late summer seeding of forage. Read on for suggested times to complete a late summer seeding and for weather/environmental considerations when doing late summer seedings.

With a late summer seeding, seedlings need 6 to 8 weeks of growth after emergence to have adequate vigor to survive the winter. Suggested times to complete a late summer seeding are: 

  • by August 10 in the northern third of Iowa
  • by August 20 for the middle third of Iowa
  • by September 1 for the southern third of Iowa

Planting one to two weeks later than what is stated above often will work; however, later seedings are much more dependent on favorable fall weather.

For a late-summer forage seeding to work, we need good seeding technique and timely rainfall. Unfortunately on the rainfall we are running short in parts of the state. There is a higher risk of seeding failure when planting seeds in drier soil as there may be enough moisture to get the seed to germinate but not enough for seedling establishment.

There looks to be anywhere from a 10 to 30% chance of rain over the weekend and start of next week. The National Weather Service is also predicting a higher probability of above average precipitation in their 8 to 14 outlook (as of August 14). While there is hope for moisture for a late summer seeding, we'll have to play it by ear based on what Mother Nature decides to do.  


Rebecca Vittetoe Field Agronomist in EC Iowa

Rebecca Vittetoe is an extension field agronomist in east central Iowa. Educational programs are available for farmers, agribusiness, pesticide applicators, and certified crop advisors.

Areas of expertise include agronomy, field crop production and management of corn, soybeans, and...