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Reseed with added purpose

Regular reseeding has always been good management on all farms, but this year high fertiliser prices and bought-in protein feed make it significantly more important in managing input prices while maintaining productivity.

Why? Because a new sward of productive grasses will be far more efficient in using nitrogen than old swards. Feeding older grass swards where the grass is less responsive and there’s a higher proportion of weeds is wasteful in comparison.

Older swards provide forage of significantly lower quality, meaning a greater proportion of the concentrate fed is used bridging the gap between the forage energy offered by the older sward and what could be supplied from a newer ley.

As an example, trials have shown that Rough Stalked Meadow grass has a yield response of 17% of that of Perennial Ryegrass when nitrogen applications are increased from 50 to 150 kg/ha.

Research

Trials continue to show that new leys will yield up to five tonnes of dry matter per hectare more in their first year than a four-year-old ley, with the investment spent on reseeding typically being recouped within the first two years. Current high input prices will improve this further.

The ranges

Mixtures such as the dual-purpose LG Monarch Silage & Grazing; the dairy grazing mixture LG Monarch Intensive Grazing; or the beef/sheep livestock grazing mixture LG Monarch Multigraze, offer top-yielding grass varieties that respond well to fertiliser applications and will out yield older varieties even at lower nitrogen levels. So even if it is necessary to cut back on fertiliser application rates, an improved mixture in a new ley will yield better than mixtures with less productive grass varieties.

Add to this the increased drive to maximise milk from home-grown forages and mitigate high bought-in feed prices, particularly protein, means a more rigorous reseed programme could make good commercial sense, reducing the reliance on expensive inputs and making the most of fertiliser that is used.

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