Farming blog: Reseeding – before and after

There are a number of things you need to know before and after reseeding. We go through grass seed choice, soil fertility, drainage and management of new grass seed Grass seed choice Select varieties from the recommended list by the Department of Agriculture. The primary use of the field will determine how much diploid (grass with creeping growth) or tetraploid (tall and upright growing) to choose. Traits The key traits of a grass seed to consider are: yield, sward density, spring growth, autumn growth, digestibility, and first and second cut silage yields. The traits that you want in a grass seed depends on the following factors: soil type, annual rainfall, turnout dates, number of silage cuts, and expected first cut date. Tetraploids produce higher milk yields in dairy cows For grazing swards on dry/normal land use up to 50% tetraploids For grazing land for heavy land/heavy rainfall use up to 30% tetraploids In silage swards use up to 35-40% tetraploids Soil fertility To get the maximum productivity and for the grass to last the longest, the soil fertility must be correct. Before doing any reseeding, a soil test of the field should be carried out. Once the results are obtained, apply the necessary amount of phosphorus, potassium and lime for optimum establishment and production of the grass seed. Apply the required amounts of chemical fertilizer to bring levels up to the optimum levels. A further soil test should be carried out the following year to ensure correct fertility levels are maintained. Notes: No more than 7.5 tonnes/ha of lime should be applied at any one time. For phosphorus and potassium, the optimum level is index 3. Nitrogen is essential for good grass growth and establishment. 40kg/ha of nitrogen should be applied when reseeding. Drainage Land drainage work should be carried out before any reseeding is done. All other land on the farm should be in high grass production before trying to drain wet fields. Clean all fences trim hedges and clean out old drains first. Dig test pit holes to determine the problem. Management of new grass seed Weeds Weeds should be sprayed before any grazing. If clover is sown, use clover safe sprays. Docks and chickweed are the two worst weeds. Apply slug pellets if necessary. Grazing The new reseed should be grazed as soon as possible. This is when the plants do not pull out of the ground. Autumn reseeds should be grazed before the winter time. Sheep are the best to graze the sward first. Reseeds with clover With new reseeds that have clover in them it is best to use a clover safe spray as the ordinary sprays will kill off all clover in the new sward. Use a spray like Clovex or Clovermax which won’t kill the clover in the sward. Grass seed with no clover A practice that some farmers are doing to avoid using clover safe sprays is to use a grass seed with no clover in the mix and use your standard weed killer at the 5-6 week stage and then stitch the clover seed in at a later stage. This is allowing the farmer to get a better weed kill and this post emergence spray is one of the most important stages in establishing a new sward. #Farming