FG BUY&SELL        FARMERS WEATHER       ARABLE FARMING        DAIRY FARMER      FARMERS GUARDIAN        AGRIMONEY        OUR EVENTS        MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS        BLOGS        MORE FROM US

You are viewing 1 of your 2 free articles

You’ll need to join us by becoming a member to gain more access.
Already a Member?

Login Join us now

Is a full reseed really needed?

Insights

Opting to overseed some pastures, rather than carry out a full reseed could be the answer for livestock farmers wanting to minimise costs but not lose out on the production of the cheap energy source which is grass. Farmers Guardian reports.

Twitter Facebook

The productivity of grassland has a direct correlation with the profitability of livestock farms and despite current financial pressures, farmers should not be letting their leys fall into disrepair, according to Nigel Barnes, of Powys Leys, who advises farmers on boosting sward production.

 

He says: “Carrying out a full reseed costs about £450-£550/ha [£180-£220/acre], but overseeding can be done for a third of this cost. Plus it does not require fields to be taken out of production, they can continue to be grazed or silaged while new young plants establish.”

 

Tips and tactics

However, to help ensure a successful overseed of worn pasture, certain tactics are required.

 

Mr Barnes recommends overseeding is carried out straight after a cut of silage has been taken, or when sheep have grazed the sward down tight.

 

Following a recommendation made on a visit to a grassland open day last year, Mr Holloway has adopted the practice of including a low dose of slug pellets into the seed hopper.

 

“I add just enough to protect the seed while it gets established,” he says: “Last autumn I overseeded some grassland on my own farm. A week later, there’d been no rain, but I could not find any pellets. So the slugs must have had them.”

 

Mr Barnes adds: “Overseeding can be done quite late in the year because the existing grass gives the seedlings some protection from frosts. It also aids moisture retention, which is especially valuable in the summer months.

 

“Overseeding is also a good way of getting clover back into leys. But with only ‘clover-kind’ herbicides available, it’s best get leys weed-free before seeding.”

 

In terms of how many tractor passes are needed for reseeding, there has been some progression. Montgomeryshire grassland contractor, Mike Holloway has been overseeding fields in just one pass with a new machine – a Sward Rejuvenator.

 

Previously, Mr Holloway used to use a direct drill for overseeding, making two passes at right angles and then rolling. But he has recently added a new piece of machinery to his grassland kit, an Opico-mounted Sward Rejuvenator, primarily designed for overseeding, but also capable of aeration and seeding into cultivated land.

 

Mr Holloway says: “There are slicing plates at the front of the machine, followed by spring tines which make the machine more aggressive than the direct drills I have used to overseed with in the past. Together they open the ground up, creating some tilth and giving the seed a better chance. The heavy roller at the back of the machine also saves the farmer from having to come in afterwards and roll the field. In one pass, the job is done.”

 

Silage overseeding strategy

For the past four years, Mr Barnes has been working with dairy farmer Ben Beddoes on an overseeding strategy for his silage leys.

 

Mr Beddoes milks a 220-cow Meuse Rhine Issel herd, run on 40 hectares (100 acres) of grassland near Churchstoke, Powys.

 

Silage fields are topped up every year, straight after first cut silage, with a short-term ley mixture: 20 per cent Westerwold and 80 per cent Italian rye-grass blend.

 

This is sown at 25kg/ha, two-thirds the normal seed rate, with slug pellets included in the hopper at 2.5kg/ha.

 

Mr Beddoes says: “We expect to take four cuts of silage. But if we ploughed the fields – not only would that be more expensive – but we would be reduced to taking only two cuts. With the overseeding strategy, the field is continuously in full production.”

 

Mr Barnes adds: “Last winter the field flooded, and waters brought in a lot of dock seeds. This meant selected areas needed to be sprayed off before overseeding. But in general, by keeping the pasture topped up, there are no bare patches and so no weed ingress. So, Ben has actually been using less herbicide.”

Twitter Facebook
Rating (0 vote/s)
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

Related sections

Handy hints: practical advice, handy tips and Buyer's Guides

Handy hints: practical advice, handy tips and Buyer's Guides

Handy tips and advice from all sectors across agriculture.
Machinery reviews: on-test and first drives

Machinery reviews: on-test and first drives

Machinery, cars and ATVs, these are the best reviews and videos from all the latest test drives.
Profit from livestock and grassland management

Profit from livestock and grassland management

How to get the most from your livestock and grassland.

More Insights

No-frills dairying fuelled from forage

Manchester-born new entrant Matthew Jackson operates a share farming dairying business in North Wales, where he lives with his fiancé Mari and two children. Laura Bowyer reports.

SEASONAL GUIDE: Leaping into lambing

With lambing time on the horizon, Farmers Guardian have searched the archives for timely advice to ensure you a sound and successful season.

Glasto’s robotic rotary starts quiet revolution

Just over a year ago, John Taylor read about the world’s only robotic rotary milking parlour. Today the former Gold Cup winning herd he manages is milked through the first installation in the UK. Ann Hardy reports.

Low cost system ensures profitability

A Gloucestershire dairy farmer relies on a low-cost system which treats the herd as if it were one cow, in order to maintain a profitable business. Wendy Short reports.

Prevent milk fever by testing calcium levels

Data collected by James Husband of Evidence Based Veterinary Consultancy (EBVC) Penrith, from 15 dairy farms, found more than half of cows had low calcium levels post-calving.
FG Insight and FGInsight.com are trademarks of Briefing Media Ltd.
Farmers Guardian and FarmersGuardian.com are trademarks of Farmers Guardian Ltd, a subsidiary of Briefing Media Ltd.
All material published on FGInsight.com and FarmersGuardian.com is copyrighted © 2016 by Briefing Media Limited. All rights reserved.
RSS news feeds