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03-05-2017

Open swards reduce productivity

Overseeding with the most suitable mixtures is good practice to both maintain and improve the physical and nutritional quality of medium and long-term swards. So says ForFarmers’ seeds product manager Mel Digger. Over seeding will quickly prevent any weeds and unsown species from becoming established when swards become open, improving the productivity by increasing both yield and quality. 

“The loss of one tonne of dry matter per hectare, at 11MJ/kgDM, equates to 11,000 MJ/ha which is more than 2,000 litres of milk per hectare.”

Overseeding a sward with a ForFarmers’ Leybooster over seeding mixture will help maintain production. However, before overseeding, assess the field for weeds and grass species content. Then decide on the appropriate mixture; dual Purpose, graze, cut or red clover. All the Leybooster over seeding mixtures contain ProNitro – a fertiliser seed coating that feeds the seed and not the surrounding grass, resulting in 34% more viable plants and up to 30% increased root growth.

“Correct timing for over seeding is essential and it should be carried out either in the spring, where leys have been poached during the winter or to increase yield at cutting, or after the final cut or hard grazing in the late summer/early autumn,” says Ms Digger.

Good preparation will help seed establishment, so scarifying predrilling to remove thatch is recommended. “Using the correct drilling method is also important. For younger, open swards a scarifying rake is best and for denser swards a disc drill and, to improve ground cover, cross drilling is the ideal approach.

Rolling after drilling for good seed to soil contact is also vital. “And, finally, beware of frit fly and leatherjacket attack. If in doubt, consult your agronomist.” She adds that stock can continue to graze up to seedling emergence: “But, after this stage, allow establishment of the sward.”