28 May 2015 | Online since 2003



26 February 2014|Arable,Cereal,Crops,News

Management key to success of Italian ryegrass


While many livestock farmers turned to Italian ryegrass in spring last year to produce large quantities of forage to replenish silage stocks, they will need to manage the crop very carefully this year to get the most out of it warns one leading expert.

“When sown in the spring grass produced a dense, leafy sward, with virtually no seed heads which made silage making easy,” said David Long, research and development manager agriculture at grass experts and seed producers Barenbrug.

But he says things will be different in the second year as it will have gone through vernalization, or the acquisition of a plant’s ability to flower in the spring by exposure to a prolonged period of cold throughout the winter. Therefore they will attempt to produce seed heads at every opportunity.

“To get the best out of their investment farmers will need to carefully manage their Italian sward this year,” said Mr Long.

“Italian ryegrass grows at lower temperatures than other species so given the mild winter it has kept growing so goes into spring with a large bulk of grass. To make the most of this farmers should ensure the sward is grazed early before being shut up for silage or a very early - by late April - silage cut taken to remove the winter growth.

“Early grazing can be followed by a first cut taken five to six weeks later as the crop starts to head in late May, which will give the best combination of yield and quality. A second cut can be taken five weeks after the first – a week earlier than perennial ryegrass.

“But if you want to take a second cut at the same time as other leys the best idea is to graze the cut sward for a week after cutting to hold back any re-growth.

“Further cuts can be taken at five weekly intervals, or the sward can be grazed – it responds well to hard, tight grazing, otherwise it will go stemmy very quickly.

“Italian ryegrass is an extremely productive species but needs to be carefully managed to get the most out of it and the key to that management is flexibility.

“Lax management or late cutting will result in reduced quality and rejection by the grazing animal, so farmers need to judge cutting times by looking at the crop, not the calendar.”

Download




Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


10 May 2015
 Two job vacancies available possibly suit a couple or two friends on a Dairy farm. Oswestry
Two people needed to work on a modern family dairy farm both to have milking calf rearing and tractor driving experience. &nb...

29 June 2015
Assistant Herdsperson required for permanent job on farm near Stratford on Avon
Assistant Herdsperson. A conscientious individual with a passion for cows required to become part of a forward thinking team ...

23 May 2015
New Zealand Milking Systems Service Technicians - Ashburton - Relocate to New Zealand! 
Our Client is responsible for building and installing rotary platforms and milking systems for dairy farmer's through-out Mid...

1 July 2015
 Experienced tractor driver required: Job working with a potato harvesting team near Colchester, Essex
Job to work from JULY- SEPT on a large arable farm with 550ac of potatoes. Job entails tractor driving, carting potatoes on t...



Top stories you may have missed
15 May 2015 | Arable

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead is calling on the Europ...


15 May 2015 | Finance

As the country settles down following the turmoil of the general election, ...


14 May 2015 | Animal Health

New research from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge has found that ...


13 May 2015 | Animal Health

A new publication to help farmers prevent sheep lameness and offer advice o...


12 May 2015 | Agri Safety

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is putting the spotlight on Liver fluke at next...


5 May 2015 | News

The UK is now third in the global rankings for utility-scale solar energy a...


29 April 2015 | Agri Safety

A recent Rural Watch demonstration and information event gave Farmers’ Unio...


24 April 2015 | Meat Processing

Retailers should confirm their commitments to sourcing UK lamb this season,...


15 April 2015 | Meat Processing

A leading retailer has apologised after selling imported lamb in a Borders ...


9 April 2015 | Finance

The time has come for landlords to expect to see reductions in farm rents, ...