Use reseeding to support sustainable livestock production

Wednesday 25.01.2023 , News

High-quality homegrown forage is the cornerstone of sustainable livestock production, with reseeding a fundamental part of effective climate smart farming.

By targeting your reseeding programme to areas you know are underperforming, such as inefficient or older leys, you can make the greatest improvements.

Using grass seed varieties with the latest genetics and proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enables you to grow more, better quality feed from the same or fewer inputs.

This reduces the environmental impact of every kilogramme of dry matter and cuts your requirement for bought-in feed.

Plant breeding for sustainable livestock production

The Germinal Aber High Sugar Grass (Aber HSG) range offers specialist grass seed mixtures for grazing and cutting systems, as well as general-purpose leys. And they all offer the environmental benefits of reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the higher water-soluble carbohydrate (sugar) content and a greater nitrogen use efficiency.

'Reseed with the right grass species' outlines the importance of Aber HSG and choosing grass seed varieties best suited to your farm conditions and system requirements.

Target leys carefully

To harness the greatest benefit from the best grass varieties, reseeding must be targeted to areas of greatest need. As leys mature, the amount of weed species increases, with leys over eight years old containing up to 50% weed grasses.

These grasses generally have a lower D-value and are less responsive to nitrogen than modern diploid and tetraploid ryegrasses, making them less productive and costly to farm efficiency.

Look for leys where livestock performance dips when grazed and where regrowth after cutting or grazing is slow. A poor response to nitrogen or fertiliser and a high proportion of grassland weeds or unproductive grass varieties also indicate it’s time to reseed.

Giving reseeds the best start

Reseeding in spring generally offers a wider window of opportunity timewise, but autumn allows the ley to reach its full potential over winter before travel or grazing.

Whichever you choose, the following steps are essential to safeguard your investment and maximise the production and environmental benefits:

  • Check your soil health by testing your soils. Aim for pH 6-6.5 and P& K indices 2, addressing any deficiencies before starting to reseed 
  • Control grassland weeds so they don’t jeopardise the reseed
  • Prepare a fine, firm and level seedbed to maximise seed-to-soil contact and give the best chance of successful germination
  • Monitor a reseed closely as it establishes so any problems are addressed before they escalate

Read our grassland guide on reseeding if you want to know more.

Making reseeds as effective as possible is another tool in sustainable livestock production. To guarantee the best production returns and capture the environmental gains, it is about replacing the right leys at the right time with the right seed.

Ask a grassland expert