Reseeding with a grass mixture to meet your requirements, whether grazing or silaging, is vital for cow performance and the environment. Germinal grass and forage expert Paul Morgan explains what you can look for when choosing the best agricultural grass seed mixture.
Grazing grass seed varieties for all-round performance
A grass seed mixture for grazing areas must have a high diploid content. The characteristics of diploid ryegrass varieties include a more prostrate plant, tolerating animal footfall better.
The benefits of diploid grasses
Diploid grasses tend to be slower to establish but are more persistent (8-10 years), and they tiller more freely, producing denser swards ideal for grazing and discouraging weed ingress.
Their aggressive tillering allows diploid grasses to recover well after grazing, but make sure you leave a residual of at least 1,500 kg DM/ha, so the plant has the reserves to grow again quickly.
Germinal’s Aber High Sugar Grass mixtures provide excellent dairy cattle nutrition for grazing. The combination of protein and energy also improves efficiency in the rumen, leading to reduced ammonia, methane production and nitrogen losses.
Grass and clover swards
In a grazing sward, clover complements diploids well, adding its ability to fix nitrogen, increase protein levels and tolerate dry conditions. It also helps add variety to a grazing sward encouraging intakes.
To fix up to 150 kg N/ha, you need about 30% clover in the sward. Visually, this will look more like 60% due to how clover plants open like an umbrella.
Grazing mixtures must contain at least three varieties of clover and four or five varieties of diploids to mitigate the risk of weather or soil type affecting performance across the sward.
One of AberPasture’s white clover varieties is AberLasting, a DoubleRoot hybrid clover which performs exceptionally well in dry and cold conditions.
In drier areas, such as south-facing banks, plantain is also a valuable addition to a grazing mix due to its rooting structure, giving it added resilience.
Best grass seed for silage
The best grass seed mixture for silaging contains a high percentage of tetraploids. Tetraploid varieties produce a more upright plant suited to cutting. It is also quicker to establish with larger, wider, darker green leaves.
Tetraploid grasses don’t tiller as aggressively as diploids, leading to a more open growth habit, so having small amounts of diploid grass seed in a mixture can help fill the gaps and reduce the risk of weed infiltration.
The benefits of tetraploid grasses
The high-quality tetraploid varieties used in Germinal’s cutting mixtures, such as AberSpey, AberGain, AberClyde and AberBite, start regrowing rapidly after each harvesting, performing well in a five- to six-week multi-cut silage system.
Tetraploids are well complemented by red clover. It fixes nitrogen for current and future crops and provides more balanced nutrition in the rumen. All Aber HSG 2 cutting mixtures, including Aber HSG 2 Multi-Cut, are available with red clover added.
Tetraploid grass and red clover silage
The tetraploid variety AberGain is also found in Aber Red 5 HSG Quality Silage, designed specifically for high-quality silage production and lasts four to five years with good management. This mixture contains AberClaret, a red clover variety with increased persistency.
Combining extra energy from the Aber High Sugar Grass and protein from the red clover drives the rumen to achieve efficient, sustainable meat and milk production.
Watch: Choosing the right grass mixtures
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