Why autumn reseeding is preferred in Tipperary

Following on from a Germinal Reseeding Demo day in August 2019, held on the farm of Brian and Pat Hogan, Horse and Jockey, Co. Tipperary, we once again caught up with Brian.

Brian updated us on how last year’s autumn reseed performed into the spring and what his approach to reseeding has been for 2020.

At the 2019 demo, most of the field was disced, followed by the one-pass. One strip of the field was sown with the Erth Seeder to compare between the two methods of reseeding.

Brian described how both methods achieved equal success but highlighted how the near-perfect conditions meant he wouldn’t have expected anything less.

Whilst Brian always carries out some degree of reseeding in spring, he has a strong preference for reseeding in autumn over spring and makes a very convincing case as to why he feels that way.

According to Brian there are too many “unknowns” in the springtime.

“At that point in the year you just don’t know how the year will unfold. If drought conditions hit, we could be looking at forage shortages and spring is just too important a time of year for cows to be put under pressure.”

Whilst reseeding in the autumn can present its own challenges, Brian offers his advice:

My target is to achieve three grazings in the backend; so as a result the last week of July is my target week to carry out reseeding.

“It also presents a time when forage for the winter ahead has been secured and there is less pressure on cows. Looking at more recent years, drought is also less of a likelihood.

“However, I feel strongly about not letting autumn reseeding plans run too late into August.”

‘Quality is key’

When Brian first set about implementing a farm reseeding plan, which targets 10% of the farm per year, his intention was to reseed the underperforming paddocks.

However, he feels in the early years he didn’t give enough attention to the quality of mixes he was using.

Modern mixes can grow lots of grass but looking at yield alone is misleading. I have learnt how quality is key when it comes to choosing grass mixtures.

“It means cows can keep the grazing platform right themselves without the added expense of topping. It has also led to less waste due to better clean-out.

“By also paying attention to the heading date of the varieties within the mixes, I no longer have an issue with grass going to seed too quickly.”

Preferred grass mixtures

Sticking to his target to reseed 10% per annum, 3% was completed in spring with a mixture from Germinal containing AberGain and AberBann, along with AberLasting hybrid white clover.

AberBann is a new late diploid which will become more readily available from Germinal. The autumn mix contains AberGain, Ballintoy, AberChoice and AberLasting clover which can be found here.

Again, Brian’s intention is to achieve three grazings before the grazing year is out to both encourage tillering and implementing the new reseed back into the grazing platform before the end of the grazing season.

When it comes to choosing the right mixture, Germinal’s Dermot Campion highlights how variety choice has a big impact on the quality of the sward, concluding that there are huge differences in grass quality between varieties on the Recommended List and the Teagasc Pasture Profit Index [PPI].

“Farmers should be considering the highest performing grass varieties from the current Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Recommended List or the PPI.”

More information

For more information on quality mixes from Germinal, just click here