Archive: TLC for recent reseerds

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Reseeding can cost up to around £500/ha but, on average, you are likely to see 35% more grass yield in the first year, and 10% for the next four to five years. Helping to realise this potential is the aim for the first year after a reseed, says DairyCo technical extension officer Piers Badnell.

Reseeding is a significant cost which needs to be protected. It takes about a year for a reseed to get fully established. The goal in this first year is to turn those new ryegrass seedlings into big, healthy robust plants, with a good root structure to capitalise on the genetics of the plant.

In the first two to three months after a reseed, weed control and the first grazing are crucial. Grazing promotes tillering as it allows light and aids clover establishment. Clover is slower to establish and is, therefore, susceptible to shading from a vigorous grass sward.

Aim to lightly graze the reseed as soon as the plants do not pull from the ground. With good growing conditions so far, shading may well be even more pronounced this year. Delaying the first grazing can result in a reduction in yield by 1t DM/ha, the cost of delayed establishment.

Early care is essential, below is a small checklist to help manage the new sward:

  • Establishment fertilising see RB209
  • Whatever method of establishment is used, attention to early management of new leys is important to monitor how the crop is emerging and to know what its competition is 
  • Weed seedlings should be checked within a month of emergence. Control at this stage will be much more effective than later on, given the greater susceptibility of weed seedlings to herbicides 
  • Herbicides should always be selected and applied to tackle specific weed problems, with clover-safe sprays chosen for mixed swards 
  • New leys generally compete well with pests, except when weather conditions limit their vigour, in which case control measures may be needed. The key word here is ’generally’ so monitor closely to protect your investment
  • TLC will help the establishment and, therefore, the output and return on investment.