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Brown and white spotted cow eating grass in a meadow

New herbal ley mixture for improved soil health

A new herbal ley mixture is being launched to the market to meet the growing need to improve soil health on farms.

The herbal leys has been formulated by seed and grain specialist, Cope Seeds, which, in addition to Hybrid and Perennial Ryegrass, also includes Cocksfoot, Timothy, Meadow Fescue, a range of legumes including Red and White Clover, Alsike, Sweet Clover and Birdsfoot Trefoil plus Sheep’s Parsley, Burnet, Plantain, Chicory and Yarrow.

“Since Defra’s 25-year environmental plan was released, many farmers are reintroducing grass leys into arable rotations in a bid to improve soil health and we’re adding another option to their armoury,” says Simon Travers, grass and small seeds manager at Cope Seeds.

“This diverse herbal ley mixture is formulated to produce a sward ideal for grazing or cutting, but the additional benefits to soil structure, nitrogen fixation and mineral and protein content are well documented. Many of the herbs have strong root systems and can help to store carbon deep down in the soil as well as naturally helping to break up soil compaction,” says Simon.

Simon explains that as well as helping to improve soil structure, herbs draw up essential vitamins and minerals for ruminant animals. “For example, Plantain is a good source of Calcium, Sodium and Copper. Animal health is supported by the anti-worming nature of several herbaceous flowering plants and Chicory1 has been proven to reduce faecal egg counts in lambs and could reduce the use of Anthelmintics.

This mixture is available in both organic (70% organic inclusion) and non-organic forms from Cope Seeds, who also offers an extensive range of organic and conventional grass seed.