No-till, compaction, seeding rate
8. Try to stay no-tillage if possible. You will get the most benefit from available N this way. Water-holding capacity is maximized with no-till. Erosion is minimized in no-till.
9. Test for compaction. Many hay and pasture fields have some surface compaction. The next time the fields are saturated with water, walk them with a penetrometer to test for compaction. (Most county Extension offices have a penetrometer.) If that compaction is 3-4 in. deep, then you may need to do some surface tillage to break up the compaction. A field cultivator or chisel plow is the preferred tillage tool, if tillage is necessary. If the compaction is 1 in. or less, most no-till planters with sufficient weight can break through that compaction.
10. Plant a slightly higher seeding rate. Planting into sod means planting into grubs, wireworms, voles, field mice and other critters. Expect a little more seedling loss and increase the seeding rate by about 2,000 more seeds/acre to compensate. The seeding rate will range from about 32,000 seeds/acre on highly productive fields to about 24,000 seeds/acre on less productive fields.
11. Place seeds about 1.5-1.75 in. deep. The number one failure we have observed in sod-to-corn situations is shallow seeding depth. In those cases, corn seedlings were more likely to show K deficiency, lodge over or have stunted in growth. Get the seeding depth correct. You will pay for it greatly if you do not.