Reseeding might be the last thing from people’s minds as the rain continues to fall and fodder becomes even more scarce across the country. However, now might be the right time to think about reseeding and plan ahead.

Reseeding increases productivity and palatability of swards; allows stocking rates to be increased; improves graze-out percentages and provides an opportunity to plough in troublesome weeds.

Goldcrop’s Dave Barry spoke at the company’s spring seminar recently and admitted that: “It’s a challenge for farmers to reseed on high stocking rates, but ultimately where farmers don’t reseed the grass will produce less and less as the years go on.

There is more fodder needed in the growing season, but also during the winter time. A lot of people will see that this year because fodder is tight, even in the drier areas.

According to Dave, 105,000ha are reseeded – on average – each year. However, with the poor weather and milk price volatility in the past three years, a 10-15% reduction in the long-term average of reseeding levels has been recorded. If weather picks up, a bounce will be expected in these figures to make up for the last few seasons.

Grassland management

Dave went on to describe how reseeding has to be part of a farmer’s grassland management plan. In order to produce more grass, soil fertility has to be monitored.

Weed control should be carried out and new and productive grass material should be maintained in swards.

“Whenever we’re talking about reseeding; it has to work as part of a programme for someone; fertiliser and lime have to be right.

Phosphorus and potassium are the oil in an engine; the nitrogen is the petrol.

soil sampling

Farmer’s should be putting in the best new material available to increase the productivity of the sward.

“Reseeding should form part of a farmer’s grassland management. Soil testing and the correct application of fertiliser and lime ensure that the soil is working to its potential. Grass measuring and paddock management ensure efficient utilisation of grass; weed control increases productivity.

“It might have been okay not to reseed in the past, but now that stocking rates are higher, farmers need to reseed more,” he concluded.