Research has found that the use of biostimulants on farm could boost grassland productivity and health.
Biostimulants have long been commonplace in the horticulture, cereal and oilseed sectors, however they are relative ‘new kids on the block’ in the world of grassland management.
The term biostimulant is used to describe any substance applied to plants which promotes growth without being a nutrient, soil improver or pesticide. Often they are composed of microbes, seaweed extracts or amino acids.
According to Don Pendergrast of Arysta LifeScience, biostimulants improve plant metabolism, in turn facilitating better nutrient and water absorption through the root system. It has been proven that by improving root mass, grass is able to recover from regular livestock grazing and silage production in a much more efficient way.
Application of a biostimulant in early spring gives grass a kick-start and allows for improved access to nutrients later in the season, after early nitrogen application and before establishment of clover.
Forage yields can also be improved as a result of shorter recovery times for established leys and increased tillering of new ones. Dry matter yield was proven to increase by up to 10.7 per cent, including a greater percentage of young grasses in the sward, and increased quality of silage.
Combining the biostimulants, for example seaweed extract, with other nutrients vital to grass and animal health makes these substances perfect for use on livestock farms, says Mr Pendergrast.