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Re-seeding offers immediate and lasting return on investment

Sector News Sector News3-5-2018

Current reseeding rates of 2-3% per year are far from the required rate if livestock farms are to maximise returns from forage. Grass leys are replaced far less often than every 10 years. Even the best managed swards will suffer deterioration beyond 6 - 7 years with the ingress of weed grasses inevitable though not always obvious. 

Afbeelding: PAGE 10

Benefits of Re-seeding

  • Improved feed value
  • Higher dry matter intakes
  • Better response to fertiliser
  • Greater stocking densities

These all add up to make successful pasture renewal one of the most cost effective investments.

Whether used for extra milk production or additional weight gain, the extra productivity per acre of a new grass ley is significant running into hundreds of pounds over and above the reseeding costs. The benefits of the first year should then continue for the duration of the ley. 

More benefits

  • Grazed grass is the most cost effective way to feed livestock - Only quality grass will fulfull this claim
  • Weed grass ingress reduces productivity - 10% Docks = 10% less grass
  • Leys make look green, but after 6 years it is likely that at least half of the plant population will be weed grasses such as fescues, bents and meadow grasses = These will be significantly less productive in terms of dry matter yield, will have lower D-value and be less palatable to livestock. Their response to fertiliser will be lower than modern ryegrasses.
  • Variety selection is vital, choose the best varieties from the recommended list = The differences even between the top and bottom of the recommended list can be significant. Don't compromise and look to cut costs on variety selection.
  • Check for leatherjackets and fritfly = Consider a break crop.
  • Full reseed or overseed = Discuss options as cost is a major drive with farmers. 
  • Seed to soil contact = Make sure sowing/overseeding is correct, do not cut corners, rolling after sowing is crucial and sowing depth should be 1cm.