Overseeding to maximise grassland potential

Home-grown forage is the most cost-effective feed, so maintaining healthy and productive grasslands should be a key objective for all producers.

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Overseeding pastures can extend the lifespan of existing swards by two or more years, while simultaneously boosting grass yield and quality with minimal disruption to production.

According to AHDB, a perennial ryegrass sward at 70% coverage will cost £758 per hectare per year to replace the ‘missing’ ME with bought in feed. To overseed that missing 30% would cost less than £125 per hectare, which is equal to less than £50 per hectare for the sward’s lifetime.

Seeding options

Pastures with more than 50% perennial ryegrass content from previous drillings are suitable for overseeding. Those with less should be fully reseeded for optimal nitrogen uptake and ley performance.

Using an overseeding mix containing Pronitro – where each seed is coated with nitrogen fertiliser – supports seed growth without the need for additional fertiliser during the first month of growth. This seed coating also supports stronger root growth and results in up to 34% more viable plants.

Grassland weeds should be controlled, and the ground left for long enough to allow any residual herbicides to dissipate. Producers should also wait until new grass is well established, typically up to six weeks depending on the season, before applying fertiliser. This will prevent new grass from outcompeting existing plants.

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