Reseeding (Courtesy of Goldcrop)

Grassland reseeding is one of the best paying investments available to grassland farmers.

With the current price / cost squeeze facing dairy farmers, spending should be focused on areas that can bring about a reduction in production costs.  Grazed grass is the cheapest feed for cows and drystock and grass silage is among the cheapest winter feeds you can produce. Reseeded pastures will produce higher annual yields of grass compared to old swards. Grass digestibility and intake potential will improve. Based on recent research at Teagasc Moorepark the biggest impact on improved profitability from reseeding comes from a substantial increase in spring grass yields and also autumn yields. In a recent trial at Moorepark pastures with 100% perennial ryegrass produced February growth rates of more than twice those of pastures with 40% perennial ryegrass. The annual improvement in profitability is worth over €200 per ha for the 100% perennial ryegrass sward versus the 40% perennial ryegrass sward.

More efficient use of Nitrogen from reseeded swards

Perennial ryegrass dominant swards will use nitrogen more efficiently. With the increased cost of fertilisers in recent years this provides an extra incentive to reseed pastures. The stock carrying capacity of the farm will be increased and grass utilisation increased. The extra grass utilised and the improved return on fertiliser should return the reseeding cost within two years.

Spring Reseeding is best

The timing of reseeding is hugely influenced by weather conditions and grass supply on farms. Spring reseeding is recommended by Teagasc Moorepark due to more successful establishment, better opportunities for post emergence weed control and less impact on grass supply available for grazing due to high growth rates on the rest of the farm while the reseeded area is out of production. Ideally graze twice, reseed in April and be back grazing in June. Aim for a 60 day turnaround which is a loss of only three rotations. Generally when farmers plan on Spring reseeding they are more likely to get it done. Choose grass seed mixtures with the very best available varieties as they are likely to be in the ground for ten years or more.

Grass Varieties

Grass varieties are constantly being evaluated in recommended list trial programs, grassland research centre trials and on farms. There is new information coming available all the time about grass varieties and also about grassland management best practice. This influences the choice of varieties for the perfect grass mixture. At Goldcrop we believe we have the best and most complete portfolio of grass varieties for
Irish farmers. We also have the technical knowledge to advise you on how to achieve that perfect grass mixture. In the following pages we give detailed information on grass varieties. The Irish Recommended List is the most valuable source of information on the grass varieties that are available. Varieties are evaluated from a minimum of two separate sowings and four harvest years at a range of sites around the country. Varieties will only be listed if they show sufficient merit in terms of overall yield, seasonal yield, digestibility and ground cover score. Over the past five years for every four varieties tested only one makes the recommended list. On the Recommended List, grass varieties are grouped into three maturity classes (early, intermediate and late) on the basis of heading date. While this is a useful tool in simplifying the choice of varieties it is more accurate to consider variety heading dates as a continuum rather than rigid groupings.