Agronomy Advice

4 Steps to successful Autumn reseeding

A new reseed can often be the most challenging crop to establish on grassland farms.

Crop fields in the Autumn season
Crop fields in the Autumn season

The main benefits of new swards are improved dry matter (DM) yield, and improved nutrient use efficiency. With the current dry spell being experienced in many parts of the country, reseeding may have to be postponed until sufficient rain arrives, but for those who haven’t this problem, here are our 4 key steps to success.

Step 1 : Identify poorly performing paddocks. Step 2 : assess their content of desirable grasses. If this is less than 60% consider re-seeding. Annual meadow grass and other weed grasses produce lower yields, poorer feed quality and do not respond well to applied nutrients. Yield will be reduced by 1% for every 1% of area covered in weeds.

Before you start, be sure to complete Step 3: take a soil test and act on the results. On mineral soils the optimum pH for grass is 6.3. Failing to correct pH will severely impact the success of your reseed. Choose only varieties from the DAFM Recommended Grass and Clover List and pick those that suit your particular farm.

Step 4: Provide new swards with the correct nutrients at sowing. Failure to do so will hinder establishment. Slurry can be used to provide part or all of the nutrient requirements. With good soil fertility (P & K index is 3), then the P & K requirement is 30kg/ha and 50-60kg/ha, respectively. If clover or other legumes are not part of the mixture, then an application of 20-30kg/ha of N can be applied to aid establishment. New leys have a greater requirement for phosphate to help with root development. Good seed soil contact is essential, so roll after sowing.

My Top Tips: Weeks 4-6 (post-emergence) apply herbicide to prevent weeds competing for nutrients and space. Combine this with a light grazing when grass height is at 8 – 10 cm to promote new shoots, and thus the long term productivity of your new sward.

Read about improving nutrient efficiency

Wheat agronomy and fertiliser advice
Wheat agronomy and fertiliser advice

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