David Andris farms organically near Milford, Illinois and uses medium red clover with both his cereal rye and his oat crops. Whether frost-seeding or under-seeding, he broadcasts 15 pounds per acre of red clover with an air seeder.
Looking for freeze-thaw weather: David knows it’s time to frost-seed when he sees temperatures forecast in the 30s during the day and the low 20s at night. In his area that’s usually late February or early March. “Get out there early in the morning and take advantage of the frozen ground. By late morning the warming temperatures and thawing ground can cause too much disturbance to your small grain seeding,” he advises. David will frost-seed the clover onto a small amount of snow, but is cautious of subsequent windy conditions, which can blow the seed around.
Adjusting seeding rates: David makes two passes to seed his red clover with his oats in the spring. “It’s tough to calibrate my drill accurately for both red clover and oats even with a grass seeder attachment,” he notes. He broadcasts red clover first and then comes back the same day to drill his oats. David likes to plant Reins, but they’re a shorter oat variety. To ensure the red clover is not too big by oat harvest – he’s learned the hard way that this can cause harvesting problems – David will be increasing his oat seeding rate this year from 125 to 140 pounds per acre. He hopes upping the seeding rate can keep the red clover at bay until the oats come off.