The red clover and multispecies swards on Tullamore Farm have now both been grazed.
The multispecies sward was opened for grazing on 12 July, while the red clover was grazed from 20 July before topping to prevent weeds going to seed.
Sward establishment was good. The swards were both planted in the second half of May and fertiliser was spread approximately two weeks later when rain was due as ground was extremely dry and the risk of loss from nitrogen fertiliser would have been higher if spread at sowing time.
Two bags per acre of 10-10-20 were applied to both crops. The multispecies sward was planted on soil with phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) indices of 4, while the red clover sward was planted on soil with an index of 4 for P and 2 for K.
Weed populations are low in the multispecies sward so far, with some lambs quarter and speedwell present. Timely grazing will hopefully prevent weeds getting out of hand.
The mix of species should also help to compete with weeds.
Weeds left behind after grazing may need to be topped. This was the case in the red clover sward.
Lamb’s quarter was abundant in the sward and the spray timing was missed as grass growth jumped.
Ewes grazed the paddock and topping took place afterwards to prevent the weeds going to seed.
The multispecies sward is on the grazing platform and will continue to work as part of the platform.
Post-grazing sward height will not be as low as the grass and clover swards and farm manager Shaun Diver will keep a close eye on how it fits into the rotation.
The multispecies sward can be seen in the picture, above, and shows growth on 26 July, two weeks after grazing.
It is hoped to get a cut of silage from the red clover in the coming weeks.
We will keep you up to date on sward progress.