Do you know how many seeds per square foot you are planting? I didn’t, until I read an interesting article titled, “The Forage Seeding Gamble” by Fae Holin.
It’s interesting that my planned recipe for this year’s seeding, 10 lbs. alfalfa, 5 lbs. orchardgrass, and 2 lbs. Timothy, results in 50 alfalfa seeds per sq. foot, 55 orchardgrass seeds per sq. foot, and 58 timothy seeds per sq. foot, according to the author’s calculations. Very similar number of seeds per sq. foot.
I’m surprised I had never figured this out before as the calculations are not that difficult. First, you need to find the number of seeds per lb. I found several sources on the web, all with different numbers. I guess people get bored counting thousands of seed and just start to estimate. Here is a nice chart with reasonable numbers.
To find the seed per sq. foot with 1 lb. per acre, just divide the number of seeds in a lb. by the number of sq. feet in an acre. We’ll use alfalfa as an example. Alfalfa has 227,000 seeds per. lb. on the previous chart. We know there is 43,560 sq. feet in an acre. So 227,000 divided by 43,560 equals roughly 5 seeds per sq. foot. If we plant 10 lbs. per acre then just multiply 10 by the number of seeds per sq. foot with 1 lb. per acre and you have 50 seeds per sq. foot when planting 10 lbs. per acre.
Another calculation which I had never considered is seeds per dollar. I’m not sure how useful this calculation is, but I find it interesting.
Here are my figures for this year. K500 alfalfa, 227,000 seeds per lb., $2.58 dollars per lb., equals 87,984 seeds per dollar. Climax timothy, 1,152,000 seeds per lb., $1.06 dollars per lb., equals 1,086,792 seeds per dollar. Baraula orchardgrass, 416,000 seeds per lb., $2.44 dollars per lb., equals 170,492 seeds per dollar. Seed seems less expensive now.
Now that I know how many seeds per sq. foot I’m planting, I wonder how many actually grow. It would be interesting to get down on my hands and knees and do some counting this summer. One thing always leads to another in an interested life!
It would also be interesting to get a metric for pounds yielded per seed planted.
That is assuming you bale the hay. if you don’t harvest this crop but instead let the cattle graze on it, it’s probably hard to get a yield from it.
I would also suggest pounds of meat yielded per seed, but I am guessing you feed them something other than just hay and grasses.
When I mention pounds per seed, I do realize that it will like be some fraction of this number with the number of seeds.
Maybe Seeds per pound would be more appropriate.