Teagasc was keen to espouse the benefits of reseeding to farmers at the recent Beef 2014 in Grange and said it could help save €300 per year.
Philip Creighton and Michael O’Donovan of Teagasc’s Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Athenry and Moorepark highlighted that many farms in Ireland have swards that cannot grow enough grass during the year, especially in spring and autumn. They said this is mainly due to the absence of productive perennial ryegrasses in pastures.
Teagasc research has shown that economically, pastures with a low proportion of perennial ryegrass are costing farmers up to €300/ha/year due to a loss of dry matter (DM) production and reduced nitrogen use efficiency during the growing season. If the cost of reseeding is estimated at approximately €700/ha, the increased profitability of the reseeded pasture would cover this cost in just over two years. This means reseeding is one of the most cost effective on-farm investments.
PastureBaseIreland, the online grassland management application tool, which stores grass data recorded by famers in a centralised grassland database, was also explained in detail to farmers at Beef 2014.
Teagasc stresses that the future of an efficient low-cost production system will depend on increasing the utilisation of grazed grass. On many beef farms, some form of grassland measurement is being completed.
It says, historically, this immensely valuable information was not centrally collated and stored in a way that it could be used for research. The development of PastureBaseIreland, which incorporates both a decision support tool to increase the precision of grassland management and a database to store all of the grassland data in a standard format, is an important step to advance grassland research, with an ultimate aim of developing grassland technologies that are more robust for the future.
The data captured through this process will significantly increase the understanding of the factors affecting grass growth, grass utilisation, cultivar evaluation and numerous other grassland related components.