Reseed grass fields now but follow the ‘Ten Commandments’
“The extremes in weather over the past few years have taken their toll on grass,” says Mr. Owen. “Here in West Wales we’ve had two and half feet of rain since December, leading to waterlogging and grass plants rotting in the ground. Rejuvenating pastures in the next couple of months will ensure farmers have adequate supplies of grass for silage and grazing.”
Mr Owen recommends farmers get down on their knees to identify what grasses are still growing there. If there is more annual meadowgrass and other wild grasses than sown species like perennial ryegrass – it is time for action.
“Fields full of weed grasses may look green and seem to be growing well in the early spring, but they won’t yield well, possibly as low as 5t DM/ha compared to 12-16t DM/ha for a new ley, and their feed value is poor. They also don’t use nitrogen fertiliser very well, so applying it to weedy grass is a waste of time and money.”
Right grass for the job in hand
Reseeding creates an opportunity to introduce grass varieties and mixtures tailored to the specific needs of the livestock and site location.
“In my opinion there isn’t any one mixture that will do everything well,” says Mr. Owen.
“Some are suitable for growing and cutting for silage like Oliver Seed’s Tornado – based on fast-growing westerwolds and Italian ryegrasses, and some that provide superb summer-long grazing, like Century containing a range of late heading perennial ryegraseses.
“When buying grass, really quiz the seedsman about the different mixtures – what’s in them, why do they go well together, what growing conditions do they like?”
Grass is a crucial crop on livestock farms and has the potential to cut feed costs significantly, but reseeding, whether via ploughing or overseeding an existing ley, requires careful management.
“As with any crop, you can’t chuck grass seed down and hope for the best,” says Mr. Owen. “The field needs to be prepared properly to produce a fine, firm, fertile seedbed, and the seed delivered at the right rate to the right depth.
“We have drawn up a set of ‘Ten Commandments’ which is printed on every bag of seed, to help farmers achieve a good establishment.
“Essentially success requires forward planning, attention to detail and timely operations. Seeking specialist advice on the right mixture to use is also a good idea.”
No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment
Please enter your name
Please enter your comment
Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.
Some error on your process.Please try one more time.
Membership of the EU is damaging the British farming industry, according to...
BASIS has launched an accreditation for pilots of Unmanned Aerial Systems (...
UK wheat yields have theoretical potential to more than double over the nex...
Britain’s farmers flocked to Peterborough for the first day of LAMMA’15 to ...
The crisis in the dairy industry is not the fault of supermarkets, accordin...
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited three rural businesses in Cheshi...
Spearheading the John Deere range of mid-size tractors from Mannheim, the n...
Regular testing for bovine TB could significantly reduce the number of infe...
Single-issue policy-making threatens to hamper, not help, the progress of U...