Regular reseeding is central to the performance and economic benefits of your grassland. It leads to improvements in both grass quality and quantity, giving increased animal performance and profitability.
While the best-performing farms can produce over 15tDM/ha, estimates from Teagasc suggest the national average level of production is just 9.1tDM/ha of grass. A combination of lower production and reduced nitrogen (N) efficiency also means the least productive pastures can be costing farmers up to €300/ha.
Regular reseeding holds the key to unlocking higher production in poor-performing fields. With the average reseed costing around €700/ha, a return on investment can be seen within two years.
Reseeding provides the opportunity to select grass varieties which suit your farm type and production system and allows you to use the latest advances in grass genetics. These newest varieties can offer many benefits including a 25% increase in N responsivity, faster regrowth and increased feeding quality.
Reseeding with grass varieties offering higher levels of growth during the spring can help manage high demand at this crucial time. Ensuring plenty of high-quality grass throughout the year also helps improve milk solids and maximise milk price.
Aim to reseed 10-15% of your farm every year. Base your decisions about which fields to reseed on regular farm walks and assessment of recent grass performance. By understanding the productivity of each field, you can work out which could benefit most from reseeding. Look out for fields not responding well to nitrogen or producing lower-quality silage and with a longer rotation time. High levels of weeds or unproductive grasses could also indicate it’s time for a reseed.
Deciding when to reseed is largely influenced by the weather and grass supply on farm. For most, a spring reseed provides the greatest window of opportunity for establishment and control of post-emergence weeds. However, some areas of the country may find spring reseeding a challenge due to dry conditions over the summer.
A well-timed spring reseed can help spring block-calving herds meet periods of high grass demand in early spring. Ideally, take two grazing rotations prior to reseeding, to minimise time out of production.
When selecting varieties for a reseed, refer to the recently-published 2021 Pasture Profit Index. These varieties are proven under Irish conditions and give you access to the very latest genetics.
Once again Germinal varieties dominate this year’s list. Below are some highlights:
- AberClyde: highest-ranked variety overall for 2021 with a total PPI value of €225/ha/year
- Gracehill: developed specifically for Irish farmers, the leading late tetraploid at €222/ha/year
- AberGain: ranked highest for quality (€52) across all varieties on the list and third overall for total PPI value (€212/ha/year)
- AberMagic: number one intermediate diploid with a 2021 PPI value of €199
- AberChoice: highest-ranking late diploid at €182 for the eight year in succession
- Ballyvoy: New for 2021 and second in the late diploid category with a PPI value €167, with high-quality value and great spring and autumn growth