Having finally committed to carrying out reseeding on one my of the meadow fields, the next questions are just what is involved and how to go about getting it done? This is just what we are going to talk about in this weeks edition of thatsfarming.com beef round up.
One of the first things to do if you are carrying out reseeding, is to decide what field or fields to do.
To decide what area or areas to do is to look at what fields last year under preformed in terms of grass growth and regrowth, if you record grass growth take a look at each fields performance throughout last year to help you decide.
Think back and did the cattle eat the grass down or was there a lot wasted that needed topping.
Does the grass sward contain a lot of weeds like nettles, buttercups, thistles or rushes, if there is a high volume of these plants, then this field is a good candidate for reseeding.
Next I hear you ask is how to start at it. What reseeding method should I use on my farm?
First step is to have as little grass as possible in the field, borrowing a few sheep or doing a close topping should do the job perfectly well.
Following on from that a spray of round up throughout, this will help ensure all the old undesirable grasses are gone for good from the sward.
There are basically 2 main methods of reseeding I will explain each one and make it easier to decide which to go for.
This is the best method of achieving the best possible seed bed for the new seed, ploughing following by disking or power harrowing or both. This allows the pan of the field to be broken up, aerated as well as improving drainage by allowing little bumps to be levelled out with your land leveller. However it is a much bigger job than minimum tillage and is altogether more expensive per acre but a lot of farmers feel this is the only way which to reseed any ground ie doing a proper job.
Bear in mind that ploughing will bring back everyone’s favourite job/punishment of picking stones unless you have a stone burier or a stone rake available to you.
- Minimum Tillage.
Or min till, is a fast method that is relatively inexpensive and means the field is back in grass production faster.
It basically is stitching in seed with a one pass type machine, which breaks the soil up on the surface to place in the seed so that it is not lying on the ground for the birds to eat.
This method has a number of advantages over the ploughing method in so far it is less weather dependant than the ploughing, also no stones require picking, and some farmers feel that the nutrients locked in the soil are not buried as what ,may happen with ploughing but are still at the top of the soil profile available to the new sward growing.
However it will not do anything about the uneven ground in the field or contribute to improved aeration or drainage.
I think if your land is the type of land that could yield enough stones to build a large number of boundary walls, then min till is certainly a great way to avoid that particular pitfall.
Choosing the right seed mix.
In general seed mixes don’t vary for agriculture purposes. A seed mix with a good percentage of Perennial and Italian ryegrass as well as Red and White clovers (which are a nitrogen replacers) along with Timothy and Meadow Fescue grasses which are highly palatable is a good choice. These grow well, some are early growers, growing for long periods and respond well to fertilisers.
While reseeding, take the opportunity to correct any lime or nutrient deficiencies.
Trade is good for heavier lots with good demand for beef cattle and forward stores with lighter lots of better quality providing the briskest trade.
Initial trade for dairy bred calves is reported to be good but numbers for sale are low at present
Numbers through the factories are rising week on week,
Young Bulls 365-390c/kg
Still room for a price improvement especially for heifers and steers.