Video: Should more farmers over sow grass seed to maintain sward quality?
Reseeding by over sowing is an ideal method to maintain the quality of silage and grazing swards, according to Damian McAllister of DLF Seeds Ireland.
The Business Manager spoke at a recent open day organised by the company to highlight its latest developments in seed varieties and trial work.
McAllister said that over seeding is an excellent way of rejuvenating tired perennial ryegrass swards, as existing swards can be grazed until the new grass seedling emerges.
He continued to say that this method of pasture rejuvenation works best following the second or third cut of silage, as the existing sward will have passed peak growth.
This gives the new seed a chance to come up.
At the open day, a New Holland tractor and a Guttler were used to show how over seeding could work on farm.
Video: Check out the over sowing demonstration
However, he said that like all methods of reseeding good management is key to ensure this method of increasing the perennial ryegrass content of the sward is successful.
Farmers should first look at controlling weeds in the existing sward, he said and these weeds should be controlled before farmers consider this method of reseeding.
The DLF Seed Ireland representative also said that this method of reseeding is not suitable for paddocks containing large amounts of weed grass and other methods of reseeding should be considered for these swards.
McAllister said that farmers should avoid spreading artificial fertiliser or slurry on to recently oversown swards, as it can drive on the production of the existing sward and kill off the grass seedling.
Farmers should avoid using this method of reseeding in dry conditions he said, as the grass seed will not germinate in excessively dry soils.
McAllister also said that farmers should be careful when choosing grass seeds, as tetraploid perennial ryegrass varieties generally work best in over sown swards, due to their bigger seed size.