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Overseeding with Downland

Overseeding with Downland

Maximising production on your own farm is one of the best ways to manage the increased costs of inputs. Fertiliser and fuel prices are out of the livestock farmers control – but growing as much energy and protein at home is a decision more and more farmers are taking, to increase their profitability. It also allows the re-introduction of both white and red clover – which are increasingly important ways to combat high Nitrogen fertiliser prices.

 

Downland are recommending that farmers assess their fields as soon as possible for ryegrass and clover content, as well as the tell-tale signs of physical soil damage. Seed consultant for Downland, Paddy Jack says

“The sooner farmers sort out drains, compaction and poor swards the greater the chance they have of filling their pits and extending their grazing well into the late summer and autumn. Broad leaved weeds and native weed grasses will invade poorly drained and compacted areas. They contribute very little to dry matter yields and are of little nutritional value. Once you have attended to the physical soil problems, then overseed the fields with Downland GrassMax mixtures, which have been specifically designed for sowing into existing leys.”

 

sheep grazing

Trials show that by introducing new tetraploid varieties into damaged or tired older leys you can boost dry matter yield by 1.25 to 1.5 tonne of DM per hectare, equivalent to 5 or 6 tonnes of silage/hectare, increase the nutritional value of the sward by 1 MJ of ME/ kg of dry matter and this benefit will be there for 3 or 4 years. This could be worth over £550.00/acre in terms of increased meat or milk production.

 

“There are some important guidelines to follow to increase the chances of success” says Paddy Jack. “If overseeding grazing swards then you have a longer window of opportunity to get the GrassMax seeds sown. Graze hard, hold off slurry, muck and bagged nitrogen fertiliser for at least 3 weeks and roll after sowing. Grass harrows and grass drills can both do good jobs, as long as the seed to soil contact is maximised. Rolling is usually the best way to guarantee this.

Non- productive stock, such as ewes after weaning lambs, should be grazed on the bare field to keep the regrowth as low as possible. Once the new seeds have sprung up, then remove the stock and allow the grasses to harvest some light. It is most important that the new grass plants catch sunlight, so that they can return some energy down to their roots and then establish themselves in among the existing plants.

If fields are being cut, then overseed with Downland GrassMax mixtures once the fields are cleared, but before the end of August. In a multicut or 4 cut silage system, overseed after the 3rd cut. This is also an excellent way to re-introduce clovers back into a sward. We use specific varieties of ryegrass and clover for overseeding cutting, grazing and dual purpose situations – ask your local Downland merchant for guidance. The GrassMax overseeding range is also available with ProNitro seed treatment, which is a nitrogen seed coating that gives the new sown seed a competitive advantage against the other established grasses.”

Downland Seeds 2022

The Downland GrassMax overseeding mixtures can be found on pages 18 and 19 of the 2022 brochure: Please click here to view the 2022 Quality Grass Seed Mixtures and Forage Crops available with Downland..

23rd June 2022

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