Planning to reseed? Then invest in varieties that graze out

Reseeding is a costly operation, but there is no doubting the value it delivers. However, if you want to maximise the value of your reseed, then pick the right ryegrass varieties and the right mixture.

The latest research from Teagasc on varieties most suitable for grazing has shown significant separation between varieties, in terms of grazing efficiency. The science around variety selection is constantly evolving and Teagasc is certainly leading the way in this space.

While yield has previously been the key driver when selecting varieties, more emphasis needs to be placed on utilisable yield as opposed to outright yield. This brings grazing residuals to the fore as a key trait farmers should look for.

A variety that will graze out well through a combination of physiology and palatability ultimately means more milk and meat from grass; and, therefore, a more profitable farm.

Grass varieties like Nifty, Solas and Aspect from DLF are all meeting this important criteria.

DLF focuses on varieties that perform on farm

As part of DLF’s Irish breeding programme in Co. Waterford they work with four partner farmers to determine the on-farm performance of their material.

This enhances their existing research and trial plot performance data and enables them to further determine the best grazed out varieties.

What is really refreshing about the Teagasc research is that it mirrors what DLF is seeing on these partner farms with the grass varieties Aspect, Nifty, Xenon and Solas.

What does the ideal grass grazing variety look like?

  • Number 1: Graze out – low-grazing residuals. A variety that grows 15t is no good if the cow won’t eat it and it achieves low residuals;
  • Number 2: Yield – if the variety grazes out you want it to grow as much as possible;
  • Number 3: Quality – now you have your utilisable yield determined, that sward should be of the highest quality possible.

Teagasc grazing trials

This recent research from Teagasc Moorepark published two-year results from its grazing trials in Ireland.

The aim of these grazing trials is to establish how well individual grass varieties are grazed by animals. To translate this into layman’s terms – the trial measures which varieties animals like to eat the most.

The top left quadrant of the graph below is the sweet spot – where farmers should want all varieties in their grass mixtures to be.

The Teagasc grazing trial results speak for themselves:

  • Nifty: DLF variety – only diploid in the top left “sweet spot” and has mainline seed availability;
  • Xenon: DLF variety – the ideal grazing variety in our view but has little seed for the market;
  • Aspect: DLF variety – best variety with mainline availability of seed;
  • Solas: DLF variety – very comparable to Abergain;
  • Twymax: DLF variety – old DLF genetics, demonstrates DLF breeders have long since been getting it right.

DLF grass partner programme

DLF’s “More Milk with DLF” grass partner initiative brings four dairy farmers on a journey to improve their grassland management and ultimately their overall farm performance.

Last year, monocultures (single variety mix) of DLF varieties Aspect, Xenon, Solus and Nifty were sown on the four participating farms in the programme; this approach leaves each variety with no place to hide.

With results as high as 18t/ha seen on farm, DLF varieties are once again proving they perform in a farm situation.

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 DLF grass varieties and mixtures, contact the DLF team by email at: [email protected]; or phone: 051-897060.