Farming blog: Increase productivity with re-seeding

Grass is the main source of feed for livestock in the summer months and is the primary source of winter forage in the form of grass silage. Yet only 2% of Ireland’s grassland area is reseeded annually. This must be addressed to produce more grass on farms and reduce the cost of concentrate feed being purchased. With high concentrate costs, it is vitally important whether beef, dairy or sheep farmers achieve as much grass in an animal’s diet as possible. Relative cost of forage feeds 2015 Grazed grass well managed €117 per 1000 UFL utilised Sugar beet €146 Maize with plastic €186 Grass silage €215 Reasons to reseed The main reason for reseeding is to remove the old, non productive grass swards and replace them with a high proportion of productive perennial ryegrasses. Economically a low proportion of perennial ryegrass in the sward is costing dairy farmers up to €300/ha in lost grass production during the growing season. Perennial ryegrass is a high quality feed. A newly reseeded grass sward with 100% perennial ryegrass can grow up to 2.7 tonne more grass than a old sward with only 15% perennial ryegrass. Most of the extra grass growth comes in the spring time till mid May. This shows that older grasses that are not reseeded cannot support spring growth. Livestock With regular reseeding the grass growth capacity of the farm can be increased substantially; and the annual return on investment is large. The more grass that is produced on the farm will increase the amount of livestock that the farm can graze. Increasing the livestock on the farm will increase the output of the farm. Fertiliser Reseeding also leads to higher quality grasses being used rather than older grasses. Reseeded pastures are 25% more responsive to fertilisers applied to the land. When to reseed It usually takes a new reseed grass 11 months to fully establish itself. That is why grazing management in that early growth stage is so important. Most of the reseeding in Ireland is done in the autumn time. As the autumn progresses, soil conditions deteriorate. Spring time can be more flexible for farmers to carry out reseeding. Farmers will get more use out of the grass in that year. Will you reseed this autumn? Have a look at our follow on blog pieces on how to reseed and what you need to do before and after reseeding. Part 2 Reseeding – how and when #Farming #Reseeding