Limagrain has introduced a new multispecies grass mixture this spring specially designed for grazing swards for cattle and sheep. Part of its Sinclair McGill range, the new mixture, Castleherb, combines 40% grass species with 30% each of legumes and herbs.
The grasses are made up of intermediate and late perennial ryegrasses; a Matrix-enhanced ryegrass that is mix of perennial ryegrass and meadow fescue with an extended grazing season and very rapid regrowth, and the early growing species Timothy that starts growing in early spring, before the ryegrasses, then has another growth surge in mid-summer when ryegrasses slow down.
Red and white clover varieties are included in the mixture and contribute to the mixture’s protein, trace elements and minerals feed value, as well as providing valuable nitrogen-fixing attributes typical of legumes. The legume content included in Castleherb reduces or eliminates the need for nitrogen applications.
Castleherb also includes the forage herbs plantain and chicory. These herbs are deep-rooted making them relatively drought-resistant and have the potential to draw up more minerals. They provide a mineral-rich feed that can enhance livestock health.
“This new mixture is scientifically formulated and embraces the complementary effect of combining different species,” says Limagrain grass seed manager Ian Misselbrook.
“It is a four year ley with a long growing season and low running costs. Like most multispecies mixtures, it needs limited or no fertiliser applications. And the combination of species provides a protein, trace element and mineral-rich feed.”
Trial work shows that these types of mixtures can improve voluntary intakes by livestock and result in livestock performance comparable with that seen from grass leys receiving up to 250kg of nitrogen per hectare.
“Multispecies mixtures have an increasingly important part to play in sustainable, environmentally-friendly livestock systems,” adds Mr Misselbrook. “And the latest mixtures, like Castleherb, have the potential to achieve livestock performance at least on par with grazed grass-only leys.”
The suggested seed rate for Castleherb is 27kg/ha to 32kg/ha, sown into a fine seed bed, either in spring or autumn, when enough moisture is available.