As weather hasn’t been favourable in the past number of weeks, priority for many is to get silage harvested. This should be quickly followed by implementation of your reseeding plan.
Focus on soil fertility
Soil fertility is critical to maximising the performance and longevity of grass swards. Department of Agriculture Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA), recently highlighted that 82% of all soils in Northern Ireland are sub-optimal in terms of pH, phosphorus (P) or potassium (K). Without doubt, this is costing farms throughout the country significantly in terms of under-performing grass swards and the necessity to bring in more expensive supplements to overcome grass deficits in the system. Completing regular soil fertility tests on your farm (every 3 to 5 years) and using the results to develop a fertiliser program is critical to ensure you can get the most from your swards.
Reasons to increase perennial ryegrass content
Reseeding is important as a mechanism to increase the perennial ryegrass content in swards. There are several benefits to reseeding and maintaining perennial ryegrass dominant pastures:
- Provides more grass at the shoulders of the season (early spring and late autumn)
- 25% more responsive to fertiliser N compared to old permanent pasture
- Increases feeding quality
- Faster regrowth
- Greater total production and so can increase the carrying capacity of the farm
The overseeding option
When looking to give an uplift to under-performing swards, or to correct any damage done to ground in the spring, sward rejuvenation is a worthy consideration. By overseeding or stitching-in you improve the yield and quality of grassland whilst minimising any time out of production for the land concerned. Sward rejuvenation should be used selectively on swards noted to be deteriorating but still have a good proportion of perennial ryegrass present.
Choosing the best grass mixtures
When selecting your grazing mixture, focus on varieties with strong Teagasc Pasture Profit Index (PPI) values and high quality. These traits are essential to maximise the return on your investment. Choosing varieties with positive values for quality will help ensure you have a palatable mixture, which will support higher animal intakes and animal performance whilst varieties with high values for silage traits will increase yield and quality in silage swards. Varieties with good spring and autumn growth are also desirable to increase grass availability at key points in your season.
A maximum of 3 to 4 varieties in a mix is the ideal as if you have too many varieties, some will be included at a low rate and the benefit of that variety over an acre would be questionable.
Autumn Reseeding Webinar
If you wish to learn more about autumn reseeding, Germinal Ireland are hosting an autumn reseeding webinar that will talk through the critical success factors when it comes to preparation, sowing and management of your autumn reseed to help you make your grass more productive. It will take place on Thursday August 13th at 7.30pm and you can register for the webinar by clicking here. There will be lots of opportunity to raise questions on the night.