Over-seeding: A cost-effective option for more grass in 2018

Reseeding is long heralded as the best investment any livestock farmer can make on their farm. It’s anticipated a lot of reseeding will be done this year.

Some farmers will be catching up on missed opportunities last autumn and some farmers will be reseeding out of necessity.

Spring 2018 has already presented a number of challenges; the late spring has caused slow grass growth and incredibly wet ground. There is no doubt that grazing ground has taken a beating this spring. As silage runs out, some farmers have little option but to get out and graze.

Weather

To reseed we need a good weather window and farmers need to have ample grass supply on farm. In recent years, the possibility that both of these moons align has become a rarer phenomenon, with weather patterns becoming more irregular and ever increasing stocking rates on farms.

If farmers are grazing land more and reseeding less, then it stands to reason that the average age of a ley in Ireland is going up. This results in poorer fertiliser utilisation and more weed grasses, along with reduced grass quality and yield.

Grass that has been poached

The efficiencies that come with the grass-based model we have are only effective as long as we stay on top of our grassland and keep perennial ryegrass content as high as possible. This begs the question should we be over-seeding more?

Over-seeding with ProNitro – nitrogen-coated seed

Over-seeding is already known to be an economical way to improve grassland. Teagasc estimates the cost of reseeding at €280/ac (€700/ha), whereas over-seeding can be carried out for less than €100/ac.

While over-seeding will not solve problems such as invasive weeds like annual meadow grass, scutch or bentgrass, it is a fantastic way to deal with damaged ground and maintain perennial ryegrass in swards.

The greatest difficulty with over-seeding is trying to establish new grass seedlings in an already competitive sward.

 

ProNitro being tested in the lab

DLF has come up with a novel way of aiding this process with nitrogen-coated grass seeds called ProNitro. The nitrogen seed dressing on this product will feed only the planted seeds and not the existing grass or weeds.

Trials have shown ProNitro seeds produce 200% more fresh weight than untreated seeds three weeks after sowing.

Looking at another grass-based sector like stadiums to prove this further; key to a groundskeeper’s success is the recovery and establishment rates that can be achieved on the pitch. ProNitro-coated seed has become the product of choice in top stadia, as it establishes more seedlings/m² in a faster time frame than untreated seed.

Not unlike stadia, over-seeding grazing or silage ground is also going into a competitive environment, as the existing grass recovers and the nitrogen coating on ProNitro seeds gives the competitive advantage to establish successfully.

ProNitro offers better seed-to-soil contact through larger seeds (coated). This allows for higher germination and seedling survival rates and targeted nitrogen for the emerging seedlings.

Although over-seeding is already a sensible and cost-effective way to improve grass yields and quality for grazing and silage swards, using ProNitro-coated seed will allow for faster establishment and better seedling survival rates.

The unique formulation of ProNitro feeds the seed and not the weed. It delivers stronger, faster establishment and up to 34% more plants and a 30% increase in root mass. This results in a healthier sward and less weed invasion.

More information

DLF, the world’s largest breeder and producer of grass seed, is one of Ireland’s leading wholesale suppliers of grass and forage seeds.

DLF is the only breeder directly servicing the Irish grass seed market and the company operates the only privately-owned grass and forage trial and research site in Ireland.

For more information on ProNitro treated seed, contact the DLF team by email at: [email protected] or at: 051-897060. Click here for more information