View Full Version : small acreage /lawn tractor seeder?

May. 7, 2011, 07:55 AM
So...we've gotten the soil tests, and have put down the first application of needed fertilizer. And, we've found out where/who we can contract with a small enough no till / drill seeder to overseed.....But (!) Price quoted just for that overseeding of winter rye this fall was $400.

I'm wondering: are there tow behinds for small lawn tractors that would 'do' this job that anyone recommends? I mean, we don't want a thousands of dollars machine...just wondering if there is something any one endorses that maybe would be a better investment than paying for someone else to always do it? broadcast spreading alone isn't gonna do it-----


May. 7, 2011, 08:06 AM
It's not quite the same as drilling, but I've gotten away with using one of those combination aerator/seeders you can get from Sears, Lowe's, etc. on my 3 acres. If I can time the seeding for right after a rain, the ground is soft enough that the aerator spikes make nifty little divets for the seeds to drop into.

I then follow up with a light harrowing to pull a bit of soil over the seed-containing divets.

May. 7, 2011, 08:13 AM
thanks coloredhorse...

I had researched/seen those...then, unfortunately, I read the 'reviews' and most people complained about how cheap and what a poor job they did. :no: I know you can't believe everything you read, though.

I was hoping there might be something a bit more heavy duty, but not up there with the 'real' ones, either. Somewhere in between!

May. 7, 2011, 08:37 AM
Well, ours does take a fair amount of maintenance; it's NOT the sturdiest thing. It does well enough for what it is and for doing a tougher job than intended.

I will be watching this thread, though, 'cos if you find something sturdier, I'm sure Mr. CH will be happy to give up his seeder repair duties. :yes:

May. 7, 2011, 08:54 AM
Have you also looked at renting something you can tow
with your lawn tractor? Talk to landscape contractors
about possibly renting from them as well as talk to
implement dealers about same.

May. 7, 2011, 09:22 AM
Robin, that would be perfect, if there was such a situation....
I've found that the county offices (one county up) DO have one for renting, but its the big boy stuff....way too huge for my little farmette....
I don't believe any of the John Deere/equipment places rent any either.

Tom King
May. 7, 2011, 09:28 AM
How much acreage are you talking about, and do you want to spead fertilizer too, or just grass seed?

May. 7, 2011, 10:14 AM
Hey, Tom.
Property is very small...has small 175 ft wide x 200 ft. deep 'paddocks'/pastures ....cross fenced to these sizes for rotation. So, I really just wanted to find out if there is a small (!!) lawn tractor/or riding lawn mower sized pull item out there that would actually 'simulate' a no till /drill seeder---and if so, what would I expect to spend.

I'd love it if it could also drop fertilizer, or lime, etc, prepare ground of already existing grass areas for seed, etc.

I just know so far, we've priced having it seeded, and it seemed to me? it would be about $1,000 for one seeding this fall, and one next spring (added together) along with the seed....so, I was trying to see if a purchase would be best vs. the service.

May. 7, 2011, 10:30 AM
Check out ATV equipment here; http://www.equipmentbarn.net/home.php?cat=300 and then go look for something used.

May. 7, 2011, 12:33 PM
Not sure if you have enough tractor for discing, but that is what I do to open the ground for seeding. I just cut and score the ground, slice into the turf, which allows better air and water into the soil. My discing is not working the dirt up like for a new planting of field, more just roughly cutting dirt some to open it up. I usually just walk with my drop seeder, up and down to put seeds exactly where pasture needs more growth. This has worked pretty well, reseeded nicely in those areas.

I have not had good luck with any kind of broadcast seeding, poor germination rates on GOOD SEED, seeds just don't take root and die. Birds ate a LOT of the seed, with seed cost at gold-dust prices! So that broadcasting was wasted money and time for us.

I have actually put grass seed in with the pelleted fertilizer in fertilizer company spreader wagon, when I wanted to do seed on the whole field. Again, chain dragged after, to cover the seed a bit more. Worked moderately well, on lightly disced fields.

I have rented an aereator walk-behind model, self driven, so you just steer it. Did the back yard and a couple paddocks with it, and thought it did an excellent job. Seeded after and lightly dragged with my chain harrow after seeding. Got good resprouting, multiple holes softened the soil from packing of many hooves. Using the machine actually went pretty fast, being self propelled. I thought I got a lot done in a short time, punching holes in the grass and dirt.

Our local County grass drill is rented out, does take a fairly powerful tractor, with hydraulic connections for the hoses that power the drill. When we called to use it, they wouldn't let us rent unless we spray killed all existing pasture!! Well heck, I have been growing and improving that for about 8 years, so spray killing was NOT going to happen. Plus we couldn't use the fields until the next year later!! I only wanted the drill to THICKEN my pastures, not kill it all off. The pasture plants have great roots, not very many weeds, mixed grasses, so running horses seldom leave any hoofprints. I have pretty good grazing all summer long, even if we have drought condtions for a while. No way do I want to erase 8 years of pastures that work FOR me.

Not sure of your location, but with all this work and expense, have you thought of doing a mixed grass pasture? Using only one kind of grass, can mean it only grows well in certain conditions. I think of Rye as a cover crop, but doesn't do as well in the extremes of heat or cold. Those other type grasses come and go in the extremes, so equines have cover on the dirt, something to nibble all the growing season. Just something else to think about.

May. 7, 2011, 12:43 PM
I bought a pull behind broadcast seed spreader for winter rye, and didn't have much success with that method (but then again, it was a dry winter and I don't have any way to water 10 acres). However, when I did mix the seed in with the manure in my Newer Spreader, that grass grew, despite the lack of rain.

Tom King
May. 8, 2011, 08:37 AM
That's less than one acre. The smallest no-till I know of is an 8 footer, and it requires a 70 hp tractor at minimum.

I have this push spreader, and have used it on spots even over an acre. Look around on these pages and there are plenty available. I'd get one of these broadcast spreaders for seed, and if you also want to spread fertilizer, get a drop spreader.

push spreader that holds a 50 lb. bag of some types of grass seed:

Look around on these pages if you need something to pull behind a riding mower: http://mower-blades.agrisupply.com/search#w=spreader&asug=
type "spreader" in the search window if the page of spreaders doesn't come up

May. 8, 2011, 09:32 AM
thanks everyone!
(I'm also watching the other thread in re: small farmette tractor)

Yeah, Tom, they're not big areas..but they do have 14 ft. gate access....just the past week, we had a good sized tractor come in, and apply fertilizer in each of them....its just that he doesn't have a 'seeder'.....

I was the most interested in any pull behind/lawn tractor size suggestions for something that doesn't just broadcast seed, but also prepares/roughs up/an already grass covered area (as in : not disc ing, or tearing it up entirely) for soil connection. I did look at the one suggested, but found most people who reviewed it said it was too cheesey, and had no weight to truly make any proper sized holes to hold the seed, etc, etc.

Just didn't know what others with this size/style farmette do....if they pay the big prices for the overseeding, or if they have a home product that works for them to do it themselves as successfully! :)

May. 8, 2011, 09:39 AM
The problem that you have is, no PTO and no hydraulics, which make what you want work. You'll probably have to have two pieces of equipment; one to break up the soil, and one to seed. In order to seed with a pull along it would have to be ground drive, which would be defeated by having to pull something that breaks up the ground.

Tom King
May. 8, 2011, 09:57 AM
Broadcast seed sprouts just fine most of the time. The problem is if it's on a hill and a washing rain floats the seeds away.

Our county has a no-till drill that rents cheap by the acre. I use it in years when it's in this end of the county, but about half the years it's farther away than I want to pull it, so I use a PTO broadcast spreader-one of the ones at the top of that webpage. I just watch the weather reports carefully, and try my best to get it out before a not too severe rain.

I've used that push spreader on yards for decades and it works just fine. It probably covers a swath 16 to 20 feet wide depending on how fast you walk. One of the ones like it that pull behind a riding mower would be less walking, but you're only looking at 15 or 20 minutes to cover your area with the push one.

A drop spreader just drops stuff the width of the spreader.

The vast majority of yards you see were seeded with a broadcast spreader.

Tom King
May. 8, 2011, 10:10 AM
For spreading Bermuda seed, I use an antique version on this one regardless of the acreage. It's the only type I've seen where you can have any kind of control with the dispersion of the tiny Bermuda seed.


May. 8, 2011, 02:18 PM
thanks again, all. You're helping me research and understand all of this!

We did do some broadcast seeding a year ago...and found VERY little of it took...we don't want to disc up the existing grass, but want to work hard at seeding into it, bit by bit to improve it...and need more of a 'seeder' type action I guess for that to take.

I'm thinking? that our areas/needs are such that perhaps just a good quality riding mower, and then, an farm type ATV and attachments might be best for us? I don't see me needing a true 'tractor' either-----

Tom King
May. 8, 2011, 09:50 PM
Broadcast seeding works fine if you catch the conditions right. Spring and fall rainy spells are the best, but not when some big front is going to come through with a risk of severe storms.

I try to get everything ready, and when the conditons look good, I'll go out there and spread the seed.

The ground needs to stay wet for as long as possible. It doesn't do any good to catch a good rain and then a slow moving high pressure comes right in behind it keeping things dry for two weeks.

It needs a good soaking and then the ground to stay at least damp for days. With a good soaking rain to start, even heavy dews are enough.

Ground temp needs to be right for the kind of seeds too. They will lay there for a long time and still sprout, but if you have hills like we do, it's important that they don't see enough water to make them float away.