Helpful Advice for those with Grass….
In a spring where you would be better off planting rice than any other crop, it will be with some trepidation that some farms will be waiting for the waters to subside and the fields to dry out to see what state their grassland is in.
Some fields maybe that badly damaged that a total reseed will be necessary but hopefully many of them would be in a reasonable enough state to recover from the floods but could maybe benefit from a bit of a refresh. Overseeding an existing pasture will not only give a boost to yields but will also help to re-establish a good ground cover making it less susceptible to poaching and damage by stock when grazed.
Overseeding can be done either with a drill or by broadcasting. In either case, the existing grass should have just been cut or grazed so as to give the minimum competition to any newly sown grass. Most grass seed suppliers have a specific overseeding mixture in their range, normally consisting of a mixture of Italian, Hybrid and Perennial Ryegrass with a clover option and will normally come in a 10 kilo pack. The seeding rate will be governed by the state of the existing grass and the amount of ground cover there is. Badly damaged swards may need up to the full 10 kilos per acre whereas 6-7 kilos may suffice if there is still a reasonable amount of grass there.
Drilling is pretty self explanatory but if broadcasting is the preferred method then going over the sward initially with a chain harrow will help to loosen up some soil to give something for the seed to be broadcast into. Having broadcast the seed, the field should be rolled so that the seed bed is firm, problems with seed establishment is in many cases down to fluffy seed beds and it is often very noticeable that the best take is in the tractor wheelings!! A Cambridge roller is the best option as it will not only press the seed into the soil but the shape of the rollers will push some soil over the seed burying it slightly and giving a good seed placing in the bed.
Whilst not a permanent solution, an overseeding will help to extend the length of the ley and means that the field doesn’t have to be taken totally out of production and last until until the end of the normal rotation.
If you require more help or advice on your grassland, call Simon at Cope Seeds on 01529 421081