INT 13 Introducing legumes into an existing forage stand using sod and broadcast seeding and mob grazing techniques


Project Details

At this First Street Pasture, MBFI is researching the incorporation of legumes into a pasture using sod and mob seeding methods. This page provides information about this particular research project; including the background, objectives, and updates.

  • Project Lead: Jane Thornton, Farm Production Extension - Forage (Manitoba Agriculture), Send email
  • Project Start: May 2016
  • Project Status: In Progress
  • Location: First Street Pasture

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About This Project

On sandy soils in western Manitoba it is risky to kill existing forage stands to rejuvenate the stand. The chance for failure can be high due to drought, wind erosion and grasshopper infestations. However, sandy soils are inherently infertile and legumes are important for stand productivity. Some success has been obtained by sod seeding or using cattle hoof action (mob seeding) to incorporate the seed.

The practice however is not that common and questions that are often asked include:

  1. What seeding rate should I use?
  2. When should I seed?
  3. What can I expect for establishment?
  4. Is there enough establishment to justify the seed costs and time?


  1. To determine the success rate of sod seeding and mob seeding legumes into a marginal pasture
  2. To measure yield differences between sod seeding, mob seeding compared to the plots with no legumes incorporated
  3. To measure the forage quality differences between sod seeding, mob seeding compared to the plots with no legumes incorporated
  4. To accomplish a cost-benefit analysis of each management type


As of March 2017-In 2016, 30 lbs P and 15 lbs S were broadcast on the treatment plots. Fifty heifers and 5cow/calf were used to remove old residue from the sod seeded treatment plot and then the plot was seeded with alfalfa using a double disc press drill. The second treatment had the alfalfa broadcast on the plot and was immediately followed by mob grazing.

The Brandon area had higher than average precipitation in 2016. Both treatments had good germination. The sod seeded plots had the alfalfa better distributed over the plot while the broadcast and mob grazed plots had denser strips of alfalfa due to the inaccuracy of broadcasting the seed. Of the seed delivered to each plot an average of 14% established on the sod seeded plots and 20% established on the broadcast and mob grazed plots.

In 2017 the project will be repeated in a new location. The 2016 plots will receive a second application of 30 lbs P and 15 lbs S early in the spring. The 2016 plots will be used to collect yield and forage quality data.