Preparation key to successful grass growth this spring

With grass reseeding costing anywhere between £370 – £500/ha, it is important preparatory steps are taken now to realise the benefit of the investment this spring.

Alex Law, grassland and forage crop product manager at Carr’s Billington, advises that prioritising what leys to reseed, in what order is key.

“This comes down to the results of a soil sampling report and having a clear understanding of how a new ley will be beneficial,” he says.

Soil sampling

“A soil sample report will determine the suitability of the area you want to reseed. For optimal growing conditions you ideally want a soil pH between 6-6.5, and phosphorus and potassium levels at an index of two to ensure nutrients are readily available for root growth. 

“Although grass will germinate if soil conditions aren’t favourable, you should aim to focus on areas that have shown the most conducive results. This will ensure you have the best chance of growing healthy, highly productive swards and will help to reduce extra establishment costs,” explains Mr Law.

He also notes that areas with less favourable soil conditions can be repaired and reseeded at a later date.

Establish your goal

Mr Law adds that reseeding should be modelled to individual farm requirements including the selection of grass varieties.

“Only a proportion of farm may need to be reseeded to reach a particular productivity target, whether it be for grazing livestock or silage. As a general guideline, it’s advised a minimum of 10% is reseeded per year to sustain grass quality. 

“However, this percentage will depend on many factors such as topography and your farm system,” he says.

He notes that considering other factors such as height above sea level, average rainfall and how long you want a field to be in grass for will also have an impact on how reseeding should be approached, and which grass varieties would be most appropriate.

“A successful reseed will pay back faster so it is very much worth putting initial preparation time into getting the results you are aiming for,” concludes Mr Law.

For copies of Carr’s Billington Grass and Forage Manual or advice on reseeding contact your local branch or farm-based consultant.

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.