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Read all the latest news from the agronomy services industry.

Latest News

Read all the latest news from the agronomy services industry.


Latest News

Maximising Grass Growth

Maximising Grass Growth

Published: Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Category: Technical News

MAXIMISING GRASS GROWTH

Now more than ever is the time to focus on improving grass leys for yields and quality. We often talk about grass being the cheapest source of feed but this is only true when it is well managed. A poor grass ley costs around double that of a good ley in terms of p/kg of dry matter.

Growing and utilising more quality grass from the acres you have is paramount. The benefits of reseeding are regularly discussed but how do you go about assessing whether a sward needs replacing and how do you best approach it? You need to ask the right questions:

  • Why are you reseeding? It costs around £120/acre so you need to be confident you are taking the right fields out of production.
  • Have you done a sward assessment? This is not as tedious as it sounds. You are looking at 60% ryegrass present, good ground cover, low weed infestation, good worm counts (ideally 20+ on a spade spit), little compaction issue, good depth of grass roots and if required clover at the desired level.

BACK TO BASICS

Before getting involved in what grass mixture is required, the most important thing to do is get the basics right. This will help to make sure your new ley has the best possible chance.

  • ·         Undertake a soil analysis for pH,P,K and Mg and correct deficiencies
  • ·         Use a break crop where possible to break the pest and disease carryover
  • ·         Control weeds
  • ·         Correct any soil structure/drainage issues
  • ·         Get a good seedbed and ensure even consolidation of the soil after sowing
  • ·         Monitor emerging grass seedlings for pests and weeds

Grass mixture selection is crucial. With modern varieties offering great improvement in livestock performance carefully choosing your varieties is time well spent. Decide what you want the new ley for. Is it short or long term, cutting or grazing, is it a drought prone site? Make use of the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists as a good starting point. Every element of a grass mixture should be justified as to why it is included and what it brings to the mix. For example, each unit of D-value improvement can give around 5% extra animal performance and there are large variations in what varieties can offer. It really is worth spending time selecting the most appropriate cultivars for your situation, grass is an amazing crop with huge potential when managed correctly.

Pearce Seeds (based in Sherborne, Dorset)  with Agronomists across the South West spend a great deal of time selecting the most suitable grass varieties and running in house trials .These trials give the best regional data on the right varieties for the South West and give the information needed to go with their bespoke grass mixing service.

Finally it is good practice to walk your grass fields regularly and monitor their performance. If you don’t have time to do this get someone to do it for you, as looked after well they will deliver the goods.

 

Article by John Harris

 

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Please contact us for more information:

Pearce Seeds LLP
Rosedown Farm
Marston Road
Sherborne
Dorset
DT9 4SX


Tel: 01935 811 400
Fax: 01935 816 800

Email: info@pearceseeds.co.uk