With over 25 years on record, the field of doublecrop winter pasture and crabgrass on the Noble Research Institute Pasture Demonstration Farm has the longest consecutive production that I know of. I would be pleased to hear of other longer ones. We have researched and trial and error studied, numerous combinations and methods of managing the doublecrop.
Without a doubt, fall tillage helps the winter pasture segment of the doublecrop and spring tillage before crabgrass emergence helps the crabgrass. We can also do no-till planting of winter pasture in crabgrass stubble and do greatly better than the same in bermudagrass or Old World Bluestem stubble. Spring tillage is needed for better crabgrass in no-till fall planting.
When starting this doublecropping, the phosphorus and potassium levels were very deficient. Ever so gradually, those nutrient levels have increased to high or very high levels. We think that banded fertilizer with the seed is still important but not so much as before (when nutrient levels were lower).
If so, this also gives us other winter pasture planting options. In 1995-96, two planting methods were evaluated in this field. Keep in mind, the surface soil now has high to very high phosphorus and potassium levels very important for broadcast seeding. The fall to spring season was very dry, one of the lowest pasture production winters in three decades.
The area was planted on September 19 at 102 pounds of live seed per acre with adequate planting moisture. Tandem operations were used. Starter fertilizer was 12-42-0 lb./ac. NP 2O5-K2O and both methods received 100 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre on September 21 and 45 pounds of N per acre on February 16 for a total fertilizer of 157-42-0 lb./ac. N-P2O5- K2O for the crop.
Yields were comparable in both methods or better with broadcast. The reason would seem to be that surface nutrients are now more adequate plus broadcasting better distributes plant population. Broadcasting seems to be a viable choice for us and perhaps others, with or without a drill, considering equipment, time, and labor inputs. Broadcasting is fast.