Video: Is reseeding the only way to boost the perennial ryegrass content of your swards?

Over-seeding is an economical way to improve pasture perennial ryegrass content and now a new technology from DLF boosts performance even further.

Pastures containing a high proportion of perennial ryegrass have been shown to improve animal performance and profitability at farm level.

Such grasses are of a higher quality, have a greater response to nitrogen fertiliser applications, and produce greater dry matter (DM) yields, than weed grasses.

A need to reseed?

Over time, with under-intensive grazing and silage systems, the perennial ryegrass content of a sward tends to decline – creating an opportunity for less productive weed grasses to grow and thrive.

To resolve this problem, farmers may opt to reseed. However, taking a paddock out for reseeding will remove it from the grazing rotation for at least six weeks.

And, with typical reseeding projects costing in the region of €300/ac, it may not be the best option for the farmer.

Another option

But there is another solution and this comes in the form of over-seeding, which costs less than €100/ac to complete.

Over-seeding has always been an economical way to improve both the perennial ryegrass and tetraploid content of swards.

Many contractors now have machines for over-seeding that cause little or no disruption or soil disturbance. This means that cows can be back in the paddock grazing as little as four weeks later.

Giving reseeded swards a much needed boost

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

DLF has developed an innovative new technology to supersede this issue, through the introduction of nitrogen-coated grass seed called ProNitro.

ProNitro was used in Ireland for the first time in 2016 and farmers across the country have already experienced its benefits.

The unique formulation of ProNitro feeds the seed and not the weed to deliver stronger, faster establishment – with up to 34% more plants and a 30% increase in root mass.

This results in a healthier sward and less weed invasion.

DLF Ireland’s General Manager Paul Flanagan said ProNitro offers better seed-to-soil contact through larger coated seeds.

This allows for faster germination, greater 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, using ProNitro coated seed will allow for faster establishment and better seedling survival rates.

“ProNitro is one of many unique products from DLF and is available through the Forage Max range, but only while stocks last.

“In 2016 there was a big uptake of the ProNitro product and this trend is already continuing in 2017,” he said.

A farmer’s perspective

David Deacy is a dairy farmer in Timoleague in Co. Cork and used ProNitro seed for the first time in 2016.

The ProNitro seed was sown after a cut of silage and the Cork-based farmer has already taken the first cut of this year’s silage from the over-sown paddock.

“I am a firm believer in over-seeding and have been doing so for years. At this stage we have our own set-up and method for over-seeding.”

Deacy removes as much thatch and dead material out of the sward as possible by raking and bailing all of the trash. This is carried out before the over-seeding operation is undertaken.

Last year, I used ProNitro for the first time and I am very impressed with the results. I have a lot more plants/m² and yields are most certainly up.

“ProNitro is all about the targeted nitrogen and this worked really well for us. I have paddocks to over-seed this year and I will definitely be using ProNitro seed again,” he said.

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 at: [email protected] or (051) 897060.