10th June 2021 - Flipbook - Page 21
points to consider
AINTAINING productive pastures is
a vital part of livestock farming and
regular reseeding helps keep grass
performing at its best.
Germinal’s forage expert David Little offers
some timely advice on how to gain the most
from reseeding this autumn.
Reseeding in autumn comes at a time when
there is less pressure on grass availability so
puts less of a squeeze on forage supplies when
the ﬁeld is taken out of production.
A reseed at this time of year also gives the
new sward a chance to establish and build
up to its full production potential over winter
before grazing in spring, as well as allowing
the soil to settle.
The higher soil temperatures in autumn can
drive early grass establishment, but weeds
can beneﬁt from this too.
And while there’s less risk of a reseed being
affected by dry conditions, wetter autumnal
weather may affect post-emergence weed
Monitor ﬁelds closely to check which weeds
are emerging and plan how to control them.
Because reseeding in the autumn has a
narrower window of opportunity with soil and
weather conditions declining as the season
progresses, timing is particularly important if
you are using a mixture containing clover.
Sow both red and white clover by mid to
late August; clover struggles to establish
successfully before winter if sown any later.
If you are looking to boost your grassland
production in the short to medium term,
overseeding can provide a real opportunity.
It’s also useful where a full reseed can be
challenging, such as on steeply sloping or
stony ground, but overall a full reseed is the
best way to establish a new sward.
How you carry out an autumn reseed largely
depends on your farm’s conditions and soil.
But whichever you choose, preparing the
ground is critical.
Aim to produce a ﬁne, ﬁrm and level seedbed.
This is critical for maximising the seed-tosoil contact and gives you the best chance of
Other important steps are to:
n Address compaction or drainage issues
within the ﬁeld;
n Kill off the old sward with glyphosphate,
using the prescribed amounts of product and
n Carry out a soil test to identify and rectify
Choosing the correct mixture for your
farming system and grassland management
regime is also central to producing high yields
of quality homegrown forage and a highly costeffective, nutritious ruminant feed.
Here are some points to consider when
selecting a grass seed mixture:
Does it offer a balance between quantity (DM
yield) and quality (D-value)?
Is it right for how it’s going to be used?
Grazing, cutting or both; short-term or longterm; type of livestock?
Is it tolerant of the typical conditions
experienced on your land? Drought,
waterlogged, speciﬁc diseases?
Do the varieties show strong values on the
Pasture Proﬁt Index (PPI)?
For more information on reseeding, go
ll grassland farmers
can identify under-performing ﬁelds on their
Stock carrying capacity and performance may be
reduced, while silage quantity
and quality may also see a
With on-farm pressures on
grazing and/or silage production,
full reseeds may be difﬁcult to
Kevin McGrath, Beef and Sheep
adviser with CAFRE, states: “Our
unpredictable weather, difﬁculty
getting contractors when required, and our own available
time will often contribute to a
cycle of continuous grassland
Overseeding should be considered as a practical working
solution on farm.
Coming in at just over half the
cost of a full reseed, it has been
shown to increase production by
up to 40 per cent in the short to
This increased production can
help reduce costs on farm while
also increasing output through
Controlling competition from
the existing sward can determine
the success or failure of any
The existing sward must be
controlled to allow the introduced seedlings to develop and
In order to control competition,
grazing swards should be grazed
tightly before and up to 10 days
after seeding. Dry ewes are
excellent for the job.
Silage swards should be seeded
immediately after cutting. The
heavier the crop of grass
removed the longer it will take for
the existing sward to recover.
As an alternative, a suitable
herbicide can be applied to
control the existing sward.
The most successful months
to reseed are March, April and
July through to September. Grass
growth in May and June is at its
JULY 22 2021
PREPARATION: Various degrees of soil preparation will be required depending on the desired outcome
and equipment being used.
peak and should be avoided.
Soil fertility must be corrected
with adequate lime P and K
applied. Nitrogen should only be
applied four weeks after sowing.
This will avoid the old sward outcompeting the newly established
Kevin advises that tetraploid
ryegrass varieties are best suited
They have a larger seed with
more energy and an aggressive
growth pattern which will ensure
better establishment. Seed should be sown at 10 kg/ac.
Overseeding should not take
place during periods of dry
weather to ensure seed/plant
If you have a situation where
a grass sward is open with
clear ground visible, a grass
harrow can be used to create an
appropriate soil tilth.
This will involve a number of
passes to ensure adequate seed
to soil contact.
The chain harrow will also help
remove poorer performing weed
grasses as they are shallower
rooting and easier to remove
than the ryegrass varieties.
Following harrowing, apply the
seed, P and K fertiliser and light
In situations where the ground
is less open, with greater
competition, a slot seeding
system may be best.
Some ‘Stitching in’ machines
place seed 2-5cm apart while
others place both seed and
fertiliser in a 4cm rotavated slot.
It is recommended to undertake
an additional diagonal run across
the ﬁeld to ensure a denser sward.
The newly sown grass should be
left for 5-6 weeks and assessed
for its suitability to lightly graze.
Monitor weed numbers, applying
an appropriate herbicide as
Kevin summarises by highlighting that overseeding has
been shown to be a useful tool
in improving the productivity of
damaged and under-performing
swards on farm.
Success is dependent on reducing competition, providing
appropriate fertility and allowing
the new grass seed time to
establish and develop.
VERY HIGH IN CALCIUM
LESS THAN (0.06%)
NEW GRASS: A recent overseed with new grasses emerging.
Not all grass
is the same
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PINK LIME IS THE STRONGER, LONGER, LASTING LIME