If 2020 was a good year for grass seed sales, then 2021 looks like it could be even better. Seed merchants are reporting strong demand again this year. The reasons are probably the same as they were last year – favourable weather in spring and plenty of help around due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Demand is so high that some distributors are having to restrict sales of some varieties, but some of this is likely due to a low supply of those varieties.
It’s not just grass seed sales that merchants and distributors are reporting increased demand for. Clover and multispecies seeds continue to jump off the shelves as farmers seek alternatives to the monocultures of the past. There is no doubt but that multispecies are here to stay, whether that’s the tried-and-tested grass and clover combination or the newer multispecies combination remains to be seen. The current research tria being carried out on multispecies at Teagasc Moorepark are outlined. The Curtins Farm experiment is the one to watch.
While doubts exist as to the persistency of some of the species, particularly chicory and plantain, the researchers first need to identify and quantify the benefits of having these species in the sward in terms of milk production, health and milk quality, including mineral analysis.
Sticking with multispecies, Declan Marren outlines the Tullamore Farm plans for establishing multispecies swards on the beef and sheep farm. The consensus is that it is too late to get a good establishment of clover now and so he plans to wait until next year to sow them then.
While conditions for reseeding were good in April, a delayed start and a wet May, followed by a dry June, has led to some difficulties for some reseeds. John Crowe outlines some of the issues and ways of counteracting them.