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Range and Pasture Planting

Sheep graze on pasture








Planting grass and legumes to reduce soil erosion and improve production.

How it works

Drill or broadcast adapted grass or legumes into a low-producing pasture or a steep, eroding cropland field.

How it helps

  • Slows water flow to reduce soil erosion
  • Protects water quality by filtering runoff water and increasing infiltration
  • Provides cover and habitat for wildlife
  • Adds organic matter to the soil

Planning ahead

  • Are selected species suited to your soil types?
  • Have you chosen species that will help you reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides?
  • Have you chosen species that will meet the needs of your livestock?

Technical notes

  • Selected grass and legumes should be compatible with the planned management.
  • Add legumes to improve forage quality and extend the grazing season.
  • Prepare the seedbed prior to planting to ensure good seed to soil contact.
  • Drill seed uniformly to a depth of ¼ to ½ inch.
  • Leave residues and till on the contour.
  • If erosion is a problem, leave at least 30% residue cover after planting.
  • Use NRCS recommendations to plant a nurse crop on steeper soils or where weeds are a problem to get a good stand.


  • Wait until pasture is well established before grazing.
  • Mow weeds when they reach a height of six to eight inches. Control persistent weeds with herbicides.
  • Fertilize as needed.