Making your autumn grass reseeding a success

Reseeding your grassland farm can be a challenging prospect, though worth the effort. New swards can offer improved dry matter (DM) yield and improve nutrient use efficiency on your farm.

How can you ensure a successful reseed? Philip Cosgrave, Country Grassland Agronomist at Yara, took the time to walk us through the steps for improved results:

Step 1

“The first stage is to identify the paddocks you have that are performing poorly. After that, you can then look closer for further analysis.”

Step 2

“We need to assess these paddocks for their content of desirable grasses. If the figure is anything less than 60%, re-seeding is definitely worth considering. Also take annual meadow grass and other weed grasses into account. These do not respond well to applied nutrients, along with offering poorer feed quality and lower yields. In fact, yield will be reduced by 1% for every 1% in weed ground cover.”

Step 3

“Take a soil test. Act on the results. It’s vital you do this before you get to work reseeding. The optimum pH for grass in mineral soils is 6.3. Failure to correct for that will severely impact your reseed’s success. Be sure to choose varieties that will suit your farm circumstances from the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists (RGCL).”

Step 4

“Make sure those new swards get the correct nutrients at sowing. Without the right nutrients, the success of the ley will be undermined. With good soil fertility (i.e., P & K index is 2), you would ideally want a balanced product containing nitrogen, phosphate, and potash in a 1:1:1 ratio together, along with sulphur. Roughly 250 – 300 kg/ha should then be applied to the seedbed before sowing.”

Philip Cosgrave, Country Grassland Agronomist at Yara,

Philip Cosgrave, Country Grassland Agronomist at Yara,

Step 5

“If you’ve got clover in the mix, ideally you should apply a quality granular compound fertiliser that targets areas where nitrogen use is limited. Approximately 200 kg/ha should do. Remember that new leys need more phosphate to assist with root development and good contact between the seed and soil is vital, so roll after sowing.

After between four to six weeks post-emergence, Philip recommends applying herbicide to prevent weeds competing for nutrients and space. Grazing also needs to play a role. When the grass reaches a height of 8-10cm, this is the ideal time for a light grazing to help promote new shoots.

“Following these steps will help support the long-term productivity of your new sward,” adds Philip. “Reseeding this autumn can be relatively straightforward and make a huge difference when it comes to results. The key is examining what your soil needs and taking the right steps to help the crop establish.”

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