Management of new reseeds

It takes about 11 months for a new sward to establish; therefore the management of the reseed in this period is important.

Teagasc staff in the Grassland Department, Dairy and Beef Specialist teams in Moorepark have done extensive research on reseeding. It notes reseeding levels in Ireland are low. Less than 2 per cent of our annual grassland area is reseeded annually. As grass is our main feed during the main grazing season, and the primary source of winter forage in the form of grass silage, the low level of reseeding must be addressed.

Management of New Reseeds

Dos

First eight weeks

  • Spray weeds before grazing
  • Graze when grass is at 2 leaf stage Nitrogen and               P&K
  • Slug pellets (if required)

Second grazing onwards

  • Graze at 1,000 – 1,400 kg DM/ha  (6-7 cm)
  • Re-spray weeds               if necessary

Autumn

  • Keep grazing at  1,200 –  1,400 kg DM/ha
  • Graze off well before first winter (<4 cm)
  • Light slurry application

Second year

  • Ensure the new                sward receives adequate nitrogen
  • Monitor soil P and K status

Do nots

First eight weeks

  • Graze at high cover (>1200 kg DM/ha)
  • Do not harvest for silage

Second grazing onwards

  • Allow high covers to develop
  • Graze in really dry or wet conditions

Autumn

  • Overgraze or poach
  • Apply excessive  slurry

Second year

  • Overgraze or poach

Graze the new reseed as soon as the plants do not pull out of the ground, approximately 700 – 1000 kg DM/ha. It is especially important that autumn reseeds are grazed before the first winter.

The first grazing does not have to be completed by the main grazing herd, calves or young stock may be a better option, particularly during poor grazing conditions.

All the benefits of reseeding can be lost after sowing due to:
• Poor soil fertility – poor establishment and tillering
• Grazing at high grass covers or cutting for silage – tiller/plant death
• Weed infestation (especially docks)– loss of ground cover
• Pest attack (frit fly, leatherjackets and slugs) – tiller/plant death
• Poaching – don’t damage new reseeds

 

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