More forage for livestock from fewer inputs

Friday 25.02.2022 , event , news

Why the right reseed helps improve farm sustainability and your bottom line

There is increasing demand to produce meat and milk sustainably but maintaining profitability while achieving this is crucial, particularly in these times of inflationary cost pressure. Producing good yields of high-quality, homegrown forage is fundamental and reseeding remains central to efficient and effective grassland management.

By targeting your reseeding programme to areas you know are underperforming, as well as inefficient or older pastures, you can make the greatest improvements. Using grass seed varieties with the latest genetics and proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enables you to grow more, better quality forage feed from the same or fewer inputs. This reduces the environmental impact of every kilogramme of forage dry matter and cuts the requirement for bought-in feed.

Target pastures carefully

As pastures mature, the amount of weed species increases, with leys over eight years old containing up to 50% weed grasses. These grasses generally have a lower D-value and are less responsive to nitrogen than modern ryegrasses, making them less productive and more costly to farm efficiently. If you have a ley with a high proportion of grassland weeds or unproductive grass varieties, it is probably time for a reseed.

Another indicator is a ley where livestock performance dips when they are grazed and where regrowth after cutting or grazing is slow. A poor response to nitrogen is also a sign it’s time to reseed.

Plant breeding for the future

The Germinal Aber High Sugar Grass range offers specialist grass seed mixtures for grazing and cutting systems, as well as general-purpose leys. And they all offer the environmental benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the higher water-soluble carbohydrate (sugar) content and greater responsiveness to nitrogen. Reseed with the right seed outlines the importance of Aber HSG and choosing varieties best suited to your farm conditions and system requirements.

Giving your reseed the best start

Reseeding grassland in spring generally offers a wider window of opportunity, but autumn allows the new ley to reach its full potential over winter before travel or grazing. Whichever you choose, the following steps are essential to safeguard your investment and maximise the production and environmental benefits:

  • Soil test, aiming for pH 6–6.5 and P& K indices 2, addressing any deficiencies before starting to reseed
  • Control grassland weeds so they don’t jeopardise the reseed
  • Prepare a fine, firm and level seedbed to maximise seed-to-soil contact and give the best chance of successful germination
  • Monitor a reseed closely as it establishes so any problems are addressed before they escalate

For more on reseeding, watch our Making reseeding work for you webinar.

Making reseeds as effective as possible is another tool for improving farm sustainability, while also improving profitability. To guarantee the best production returns and maximise environmental gains, it is important to replace the right leys at the right time with the right seed.

Follow the Food

To learn more about Germinal's Aber High Sugar Grasses, watch Protein Planet on BBC Follow the Food. In an episode looking at what needs to be done to meet the protein needs of a rapidly growing population, Germinal GB managing director Paul Billings explains the environmental and production benefits our climate-smart grasses bring to livestock farmers.

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