With weather and soil conditions as they currently stand, I strongly encourage farmers to carry out any reseeding grass plans now. For those who have no plans to reseed this year, I cannot stress the importance of reseeding in terms of overall farm profitability.
Reseeding should be seen as a long-term investment to increase grassland productivity, livestock performance, and farm output. Grass is a high-quality feed and is still the cheapest feed available, therefore ensure your autumn reseeding programme is a successful and worthwhile venture.
Assessing Underperforming Paddocks
I recommend farmers identify their underperforming swards and damaged paddocks in need of reseeding. In my experience, many farmers do not recognize the economic loss of underperforming paddocks. In optimum growth conditions like we have been experiencing over the last number of weeks, it should be very obvious which paddocks are under performing and not growing grass efficiently.
Now is also the perfect time to get your soil tested. It is pointless reseeding if problems in soil fertility are not rectified beforehand as this will inhibit the performance of the new reseed. Seeds will establish quicker and grow better with the correct application of lime, phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).
Essential Elements to a Successful Reseed
There are a number of crucial steps to a successful reseed and this starts with spraying off the old sward with Round-Up. This will kill all weeds such as docks, dandelions and weed grasses giving the new seed the best possible opportunity to establish without competition from existing species. In terms of ground conditions, always aim to develop a fine, firm and level seedbed. If the tilt is not very fine, grass seed will be lost or fall too deep where it cannot germinate.
After cultivating the soil surface, the seedbed should be rolled before sowing to prevent the seed being buried too deep into the cultivated soil. If not ploughing, it is essential to have any liming issues rectified and as little thrash on top of the ground to ensure the grass makes good seed to soil contact.
At Connolly’s RED MILLS we put considerable thought into our grass seed range in terms of selecting the right varieties and mixtures. Varieties will perform differently depending on your soil conditions and management; grazing or silage and we are happy to advise what the best option is for your platform.
In general, I encourage farmers to use a grass seed mixture containing some clover that is proven under Irish growing conditions. If at all possible, get your grass seeds established in August and growing before growth rates drop. This will also allow for an early grazing opportunity before the winter months, allowing the new pasture to tiller out.
Reseeding is a worthwhile investment, although costly, my message to farmers is invest wisely to ensure you maximise the performance and value of your new reseed.
For further advice on your reseeding grass programme or grass seed options this year please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Connolly’s RED MILLS agronomy team.
- seed bed preparation