In all the time that I have been farming I can’t ever remember as much reseeding taking place in our part of the country in one year.
Most farmers around here, myself included, prefer a full plough reseed. The reason that I opt to plough is that I feel that it opens up the ground and improves drainage.
There are however, some schools of thought that you could instead use a sub-soiler to loosen the soil, and then burn the grass off and direct-drill the seed in.
But I have had some bad experiences with sub-soiling. It brings up a lot of stones that would make it very hard to get the ground level. Ploughing remains the best option.
I try to do some reseeding every year. Earlier in the summer, I sowed a multispecies sward (MSS) mixture, and it has established well and been grazed once already.
The most recent project has been to reseed a large field which has a long steep slope on it.
It is always a gamble when you do a full plough reseed on steep land, but thankfully all went well.
We were under no pressure with the weather and had loads of time to get it levelled properly, and lime and fertiliser on before we drilled in the seed. We even took a chance and rolled the field.
Since then I have been watching closely the weather forecast, even though if it all goes wrong, there is nothing we can do.
Last week, the forecast changed, and the weather presenters started to talk about thundery showers on Thursday – a complete nightmare.
We did have some rain during the day but no heavy showers. Then that evening there was a massive thundery downpour about 10 miles away and it was all over social media about a local town being flooded.
I was on edge the whole night and slept with the window open.
Thankfully it didn’t come our way, and the field remained intact. The seed has now struck, and we should be safe, assuming there is no heavy rain for a few more days.
However, others were not so lucky. One friend who sowed his seed the same day as ourselves had the heavy rain and it completely destroyed his field. It has washed tracks down the hill and a lot of seed and clay are lying at the bottom.
It looks a complete mess. After going to so much expense and trouble it seems to be a complete waste.
The sad thing about it is that they are not the only farmers in this position. I would estimate that about half of the reseeding that has been done around here this year has suffered some kind of damage as a result of heavy showers.
What do you do in these circumstances? Where do you go for advice? Does anyone really care? These are all very valid questions.
When there was supposed to be a drought across the country a couple of months ago, there was an abundance of webinars, newspaper articles and social media advice on what to do in these conditions.
Where is the support now? These farmers are at their wits end, but everyone is quiet.
There are business development groups out there. Now would be a good time to give some guidance to these farmers and help them out in their time of need.
Personally, I might have got away with it this year but it’s something that I am always worried about when I reseed. Perhaps I need to change my reseeding policy. Good advice would be greatly appreciated.