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20-08-2015

Seed mix helps dairy farm maximise productivity from grass

Somerset dairy farmers, Nigel and David Masters, have improved herd productivity and farm efficiency with the use of Trogen Long Term grass seed mixture.

“Grass is a really important asset to us,” explained Nigel, “as we want to maximise our herd’s yield from forage by utilising as much grass silage and grazing as possible.

“By using the Trogen seed mixture, we have found that re-seeded leys provide productive grazing and a good return on investment. They also require less maintenance and respond well to fertiliser, enabling us to use farm resources, and our time more efficiently.”

Nigel Masters and his son David, own Lower Clapton Farm near Wincanton, where they run a dairy herd of 160 cows, plus followers and store cattle, across 290 acres. Milk yields average 8,000 litres per cow/per year and cows are usually turned out in mid April and, weather permitting, will not return to their sheds until early November.

“Weed grasses do not perform well or respond positively to fertiliser, so we regularly re-seed leys every five to six years to ensure that they, and therefore our cows, are as productive as possible,” stated Nigel.

However, having changed to a new grass seed mix a few years go, David started to notice problems with the quality of their re-seeded pasture.

“I kept finding that the grass was going to seed very quickly, and as a result I kept having to do a lot of topping”, said David. “Feed intakes and herd performance also started to drop as the cows didn’t seem to like the grazing, which was too hard and stalky.”

In response, and after consultation with ForFarmers sales executive Chris Boult, Nigel and David switched to using Trogen Long Term Ley grass seed mix when re-seeding.

It was hoped that this seed mixture would reverse the problems that the farm was experiencing, as well as improve the overall performance and productivity of re-seeded pasture. The seed was sown at a rate of 15kg per acre and applied with the usual levels of fertiliser. The grass was then left to establish for a few months before being assessed.

“As soon as we walked into one of the re-seeded fields we were really impressed,” explained Nigel. “The grass was lush, leafy and hadn’t gone to seed; it all looked in really good condition and we knew that it was going to make good grazing.”

Newly re-seeded leys have performed so well that Nigel has requested Trogen for his last two grass seed purchases and he believes that the mix has helped to improve the productivity of the farm.

“In the long term, we have seen real benefits by changing grass seed,” continued Nigel. “Thanks to the improved quality, quantity and palatability of the grass, feed intakes increase when the cows are grazing the Trogen leys and their milk yield goes up.

“The quality of silage is also better, the grass responds well to fertiliser and we don’t have to keep topping”, concluded Nigel. “This all helps to improve the farm’s productivity and efficiency, which is a great result.”

For more information on the ForFarmers range of forage and arable products or services speak to your local Forage Specialist or call 0845 070 6280.