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Do your leys need reseeding?

As grass varieties constantly improve, did you know that by using new varieties could give you 33% more yield than a typical five year ley. The DM yield of the ley will also be much higher.

By selecting varieties from the recommended list you will benefit from scientifically proven yield benefits and allow you to capitalise on the strengths of different species.

Cows grazing

Assess the sward

The benefits of a new ley will last many years over an existing one. However, these benefits will decline and will depend on the following factors:

  • Nutrition - maintaining the swards nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur requirements
  • Soil health - maintaing the correct soil pH and avoiding compaction
  • Weed contol - maintaining an appropriate weed control programme
  • Grassland management - reducing ingress of native species (weed grasses) which are of lower production and nutritional quality.


The benefits of reseeding

The benefits of reseeding have a number of factors as well as improving yield and quality of the ley.

  • New improved varieties
  • Increased palatability
  • Increased protein
  • Improved nitrogen efficiency
  • Reduced nitrogen requirement
  • Review soil compaction and any weed issues
  • Less disease – cycles are broken


The productivity of a grass ley decreases over time and as the below table shows the yield of a 1 year ley can be as much as an additional 3.5t DM/ha compared to a five year ley.

Age of ley Yield (t DM/ha) ME/kg DM Lost MJ/ha Lost revenue £/ha
1 13 12.0    
2 12.5 11.8 8500 £401
3 11.5 11.6 22600 £1,066
4 10.5 11.4 36300 £1,712
5 9.5 11.2 49600 £2,340
6 8.5 11.0 62500 £2,948
7 7 10.8 80400 £3,792


Weed grasses

The main reason for a reduction in productivity of a sward will largely be down to weed grass ingress. This can be as much as 50% after 5 years.

Weed grasses in the sward

Weed Grasses vs. Perennial Ryegrass - yield losses

This graph highlights the potential yield losses from weed grasses compared to perennial ryegrass.

Afbeelding: Potential yield losses from weed grasses compared to perennial ryegrass

Response to nitrogen

Perennial ryegrass and weed grass respond quite differently to nitrogen. You can see the comparison here:

Afbeelding: Perennial ryegrass and weed grass response to nitrogen

For more information

For more information about our TOPGRASS range or for advice on maximising your homegrown forage please speak to your local ForFarmers Account Manager or send us an online enquiry:

Contact a Forage Specialist