Timing of autumn reseeding
Autumn reseeding generally takes place from August through to September, when there is plenty of moisture and heat to trigger germination.
However, on-farm trials carried out by DLF over the last two years show that swards sown in August will produce up to 1t more grass the following spring than those sown in September.
This shortfall in spring grass growth could cost up to €250/ha.
Reseeding before the end of August gives plenty of time for post-emergence spray application and that critical first grazing for tiller development, allowing the new sward to hit the ground running the following spring.
With ever-rising costs, farmers may well be forgiven for having second thoughts about reseeding grassland this autumn.
And although the cost of carrying out the job may have increased, reseeding is one of the key steps farmers can take to maintain maximum productivity and profitability.
The increased profitability associated with new reseeds has been shown repeatedly both in research trials and on farm.
Efficient grazing and utilisation
The most obvious benefit is the significant increase in the amount of grass grown, with DM yield increases ranging from 20% to 40% with new reseeds.
This extra grass growth generally occurs in the shoulders of the year, so it can be used to extend the grazing season and reduce production costs.
We also see an increase in grass quality and nitrogen use efficiency in new reseeds. These attributes all contribute to increased grass utilisation, one of the keys to farm profitability.
By utilising more of our cheapest feedstuff, we can increase the sustainability of our grass-based systems.
Teagasc estimates that an extra tonne of grass DM utilised is worth approximately €181/ha through increased animal performance and less concentrate fed.
Furthermore, greater grass utilisation can reduce GHG emissions intensity by up to 4%.
The strong relationship between grass utilisation and farm profitability has been acknowledged by the addition of a new grazing utilisation trait to the pasture profit index (PPI).
This trait indicates how likely a particular grass variety is to be grazed down to the target 4cm post-grazing residual height. Each variety is given a star rating, with five-star varieties having the highest utilisation and one-star varieties having poor utilisation.
When choosing a grass mixture for grazing ground, it should have as many five-star grazing varieties as possible to maximise utilisation and profitability.
DLF Grazer is a mixture of DLF's top grazing varieties Xenon, Aspect, Nashota and Bowie.
Both Xenon and Aspect have five-star ratings, while Nashota and Bowie are awaiting their first official ratings from Teagasc. However, results from DLF's own on-farm variety grazing trials are promising, with extremely positive feedback from farmers.
DLF is bringing grazing research to the farm gate with forage solutions specific to Irish farming systems through its DLF Grass Partner Programme to bring the next generation of forage first solutions to Irish farms.
If you would like more information on DLF grass mixtures with five-star grazing varieties, please get in touch with Dr Thomas Moloney on 087- 396 1265.