Features
June 23, 2020

Four steps to successful reseeding

By: Philip Cosgrave

A new reseed can often be the most challenging crop to establish on grassland farms. The main benefits of new swards are improved dry matter (DM) yield, and improved nutrient use efficiency.


Four steps to successful reseeding
Four steps to successful reseeding

The main benefits of a new grass sward are improved dry matter yield, which can be up to 3 tonnes per hectare, and improved nutrient use efficiency.

Benefit of reseeding on net profit

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 % in weed ground cover.

Step 3: Take a soil test and act on the results. Before you start, be sure to complete this step. 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 Grass and White Clover Recommended 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 the success of the ley. Where the soil P & K index is 3, then use 2.5 bags/acre of YaraMila MULTI-CROP (8-10-20 + 2% S) at establishment. New leys have a greater requirement for phosphate to help with root development, and a lower requirement for nitrogen. It is recommended to apply more nitrogen after establishment, but this needs to be assessed carefully as reseeds established in August by ploughing or deep cultivation will release considerable amounts of N from the microbial breakdown of organic matter, called mineralisation. This mineralised N is available for the reseed, providing adequate N for the remainder of the growing season. Where swards have been established through minimal cultivation or direct seeding, these may require a bag/acre of YaraBela AXAN or YaraBela NUTRI-BOOSTER before the 15th of September.

My Top Tips: Weeks 4-6 (post-emergence) apply herbicide to prevent weeds competing for nutrients and space. Graze lightly with youngstock or sheep, as soon as the new plants don’t pull out of the ground, which is usually when grass height is at 6 - 7 cm or at the two leaf stage to promote new shoots, and thus the long term productivity of your new sward.

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