Wildflowers can make a colourful display for many months, and can provide an appealing alternative to a lawn.
Using a mixture that contains grass seed will help the area that's been sown look a bit healthier during the winter months when the perennials and annuals are not in flower. However, seed mixes containing grass will require a bit more maintenance, especially during the early years.
We go into autumn 2020 with the optimism that we can put autumn 2019 behind us. The challenging wet weather from the end of September 2019 up until March has severely hampered autumn drilling and some crops have struggled with the conditions. There has been a significant increase in spring cropping which, although doesn’t have the yield potential of autumn-sown, there is hope that the lower inputs can still lead to profitable crops.
A key factor in producing quality forage is a carefully planned reseeding programme revolving around the core principle that you should aim to reseed 15% of the farm each year. It is estimated that reseeding costs £250/ acre, making it a major investment, which requires attention to detail throughout the process. The starting point to this is selecting the right grass seed mixture which will suit your end requirements.
In the past week or so we have finally seen a break in the hot weather and some rain, albeit not enough to reverse the damage done. Fertiliser prices remain firm with UK producers with no sign of this changing in the short term.
Quality home-grown forage will always be the cheapest feed available and by improving grass quality and quantity, you can reduce reliance on bought-in feeds, which is a good way to reduce the impact of volatility in feed prices and milk prices.
Welsh Farmer, Huw Walters is seeing excellent results from his reseeding programme, which is partly down to careful consideration to the mixture used, and this is something I advocate all grassland farmers to do. Adam Simper, Grass & Roots Product Manager
Huw Walters, Carmarthen, reseeds 10% of the farm each year, and his recent focus has been on choosing a short-term mix that would provide a suitable break following maize.
“Producing quality silage in early spring is the priority, so we require a mix that has rapid establishment. Our ground is free draining, but often temperatures are low as we’re in the Welsh valleys, so we need a robust mixture, which will provide four to five cuts each year.
Leys are currently being reseeded with Wynnstay’s Tower, a short-term mixture, made up of 100% Italian ryegrasses, and it suits our ground well, producing bulky, quality silage. Following drilling in October 2016, the first cut was taken on 22 April, and we continued until October, taking five cuts in total at approximately 32-day intervals.
We were really happy with our silage quality, with the first cut producing a D value in the 70’s, 11.3 MJ/kg ME and 19% protein. While our fifth cut was lower in energy, at 10.6 MJ/kg ME, this suits our youngstock.
After each silage season, I review the performance of the leys with my agronomist, which helps to make decisions on what fields need to be reseeded the following year. Although management from planting right through to feeding out influences the feed value, selecting the right varieties and mixtures to start with is very important and something we always pay close attention to.
Reseeding guarantees we’re maximising productivity from the land, but it’s important we choose a mixture that will perform well on our particular farm, to achieve the best possible return on investment.”