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Dealing with flooded pastures

Advice from our specialist Advice from our specialist3-4-2020

Assessing the sward and soil after flooding will be critical in getting grazing and silage leys growing in 2020. Read our Forage Specialist's article so that you can make the most of the conditions and maximise your forage output.

Tips for Flooded Pastures

Assess the sward

When floodwaters have receded walking the ley to assess the levels of sown species remaining will be required. If there is less than 60% of sown species in the sward, reseeding is required. They may be sediment deposits on the sward. If these are more than 5cm deep, rye-grass is unlikely to push through. A set of chain harrows could be used to break up these deposits if ground conditions are suitable.

Soil test

Any flooded areas need to be soil tested. Fine silt and clay deposits can often be rich in nutrient, however, sediments can also carry trace elements and heavy metals, which can cause problems.

In addition, readily mobile nutrients, such as nitrogen and sulphur, will have been leached from the soil profile, leaving plants devoid of nutrients for the growing season.

Assess soil structure

Flooding can cause a variety of physical, biological and chemical changes within the soil – all of which can affect soil structure. Although many of these changes will start to reverse once the soil begins to dry out, it is important to assess soil structure on any flooded fields before grazing or travelling with machinery.

Watch out for weeds

Flood waters can introduce new weed species to swards. Thin, slow-recovering leys and bare soils will provide a good opportunity for weeds to generate. Carefully monitor leys throughout the spring and address any weeds before they seed to avoid any long-term weed infestations.

For more information

For more details on soil sampling or maximising your forage output please contact your local Account Manager or contact our Forage Team here.