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F rager SUMMER 2009 NEWS AND PRACTICAL VIEWS ABOUT GRASS, CLOVER, FORAGE MAIZE & FODDER CROPS RESEEDING FOCUS TIRED SWARDS – AN THIS ISSUE: Successful pasture renovation Restoring white clover EXPENSIVE MISSED OPPORTUNITY Reseeding is the theme throughout this latest edition of Forager and where better to start than with an overview of the cost benefits? Benefiting from brassica breaks Adding value through chicory or an up to date analysis declines. We estimate that a F we turn first to Kingshay, poor quality sward by the independent dairy comparison will result in the specialists, who have cost of production rising to identified over a 2.5ppl 5ppl. Poor performing differential between quality grassland is an unnecessary grazed grass and older extra cost at any time, and the As Cath explains, the choice will be the most noticeable pastures. benefits of rectifying the between renovation or a full advantage from a new ley “Grazed grass of the highest situation through renovation reseed depends on individual when compared with a five quality means producing milk or a full reseed are heightened circumstances to a degree, year old ley, with a 33% uplift for under 3ppl and as such in a time of high feed, fertiliser although there is a point being typical in the first year remains the cheapest feed on and fuel costs.” beyond which anything other followed by 10% per year the farm,” says Cath Woods, When a sward is under- than a complete reseed is a thereafter. There will also be a Kingshay Technical Specialist. performing to this degree, the false economy. better response to fertiliser “As swards deteriorate and key question should not be “Pasture renovation from the renewed sward, sown species become whether to reseed, but how to through over-seeding is the therefore resulting in more replaced by weeds, the value reseed. cheaper option at about efficient use of this expensive resource.” To gain maximum benefit from pasture renewal, it is vital Quality grazed to first put right the issues that grass will may well have accelerated the produce milk for less deterioration of the old sward, than 3ppl so testing soil nutrient levels and soil structure – and taking the necessary action to put Continued over... £80/acre, but where swards contain less than 25% of the originally sown species a complete reseed is the best option,” she says. “Increased dry matter yield THE BENEFITS OF A GOOD LEY ACCUMULATE OVER ITS LIFETIME, SAYS CATH WOODS Continued from over... cost £10/acre more, but that’s Kingshay forage production costs only £2/acre/year over a five 8 these right – are essential year duration and you can prerequisites. expect at least 10% more dry 6.9 Production costs (pence per litre of milk) 7 Then it is important to matter yield for that extra 6.1 6.1 select the best herbage investment. The extra grass is 6 5.3 varieties, and the financial worth about £50/acre/year, 5.0 5 difference between top which is a return on quality and bargain basement investment of 25:1, so it’s 4 will accumulate over the really not worth cutting costs 3.0 3.1 duration of the ley. in this area.” 3 2.4 “A dairy farmer should There are many perennial 2 spend as much time selecting ryegrass varieties on the grass varieties as bull semen market and a poor variety can 1 in my view,” adds Cath“. The spoil a mixture. Kingshay best quality mixture might grazing preference trials have 0 Grazed Grazed Grazed Summer Grass Grass Grass Maize grass grass grass turnips silage silage silage (20%WC) (old 1st cut 2nd cut 3rd cut pasture) been putting the most adds Cath Woods. “A poor promising grass and clover quality sward is an expensive varieties through their paces sward. It is important to know in independent, field scale what you want from the grass trials across the country for seed you buy and make sure more than 12 years. the variety is well matched to “There are stark differences your requirements.” between the palatability of GRAZING PREFERENCE TRIALS ARE ALLOWING KINGSHAY TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN VARIETIES ON THE CRUCIAL PARAMETER OF INTAKE POTENTIAL AS WELL AS YIELD. VARIETIES WITH A HIGH different varieties – some are GRAZING D-VALUE, SUCH AS THE LATE PERENNIAL ABERAVON, HAVE PERFORMED PARTICULARLY WELL IN THESE TRIALS. grazed down tightly while others are barely touched,” performance by 5%, so the Cash in on grass breeding progress difference between top and bottom on the lists will result Grass is green and to the in a 25% advantage,” untrained eye one variety continues Don Pendergrast. may look very much like “Alternatively, DARD in another, but the financial Northern Ireland equate one advantages of selecting the unit of D-value to best as opposed to average 0.2kg/cow/day of dry matter or worse is very significant. intake and 0.4kg/cow/day of milk yield – so that’s 2 So says NIAB Forage and litres/cow/day extra from Herbage Manager Don using the best listed variety Pendergrast, who points out instead of the worst listed. that the variance in profit ”The advantages of potential even from within improving sward quality – varieties on the official and selecting the best Recommended Lists far out- ABER VARIETIES BRED AT ABERYSTWYTH CONTINUE TO TOP RECOMMENDED LISTS available varieties when weighs any possible doing so – really are very difference in seed costs. the lowest yielding variety on £211/ha. strong indeed (these figures “The argument of selecting the list. Using the Kingshay However, yield is only part are just the first year). Of the best available grass cost of production for grazed of the story, as the difference course management is also varieties is very strong even if grass figure of £79/tDM, this between best quality and very important, but starting you simply look at yield,” he gives a ‘top to bottom’ poorest quality on the with the right material offers says, “but if you add in quality financial benefit of £87/ha. Recommended Lists is even a substantial head start.” differences and factors like Apply the same rationale starker. The ‘top to bottom’ Farmers should ensure that extended grazing (and lower to silage yields, where the differential on grazing D-value they only use varieties with reliance on bought-in feeds) highest third year yield comes on the NIAB lists is five points, the best yield and quality the figures are staggering.” from the new perennial with AberStar again leading combination. Information on Looking specifically at ryegrass AberBite (offering the way at 79.2 D compared varieties is available in the grazing yields, the 1.94 t DM/ha more than the with the lowest at 74.2 D. This latest Herbage Varieties intermediate perennial lowest yielding on the list), again leads to significant Guide which will be launched ryegrass AberStar is the then the ‘top to bottom’ financial consequences, as at the Grasslands UK show on highest yielding on the NIAB advantage based on Don Pendergrast explains. May 7th. The guide will be Recommended List and offers Kingshay’s first cut forage cost “One unit of D-value available from British Seed a 1.1tDM/ha advantage over of £109/tDM is an astonishing improves animal Houses on stand no. 85. “Once the new grass seeds are established we will assess what broad-leaved weed problems are present and apply the most appropriate herbicide,” adds Duncan. “If clover is required I then recommend broadcasting straight onto the surface at a seed rate of 5kg/ha (2kg/acre) after having first grazed the sward down as tightly as possible. The ideal time to do this is usually July or August, when grass growth is less vigorous than earlier in the EXTENDING SWARDS season, as long as there is sufficient moisture. I would not normally recommend applying THROUGH RENOVATION any nitrogen for the rest of the season once the clover has been broadcast, and ideally there will be enough moisture If a sward contains less than THIS SWARD WAS RENOVATED THE PREVIOUS AUTUMN USING MAINLY ABER HIGH SUGAR to allow nature to take its 25% of its originally sown GRASS PERENNIAL RYEGRASSES. course and the clover will species then a full reseed is establish itself.” probably the best course of or March fly larvae, as these can This method of renovation action, but in a range of other do a lot of damage to grass involves minimum cost whilst circumstances some form of leys by feeding on the root hardly hampering forage renovation can be a cost system.” production at all. effective solution that may Having taken any necessary “We would normally expect well keep the time out of remedial action, the advice a boost in performance in the production to a minimum. then is to graze down the year of sowing with the sward sward in the spring or early reaching a peak the following ccording to Duncan summer as hard as possible A Davison, who now works as an agronomist with Driffield-based BCS before spraying with a reduced-rate herbicide. “I usually recommend summer,” concludes Duncan Davison. “As with any reseeding system, success is ultimately dependent on doing the basics Agriculture, timely renovation is applying Reglone at 1litre/ha to right, and of course warmth a popular spring option slow down the existing grasses and moisture at the right times particularly with long term before drilling the new seeds,” always helps.” grazing leys. He recommends he continues. “It’s then a case of an approach that involves the drilling grass seeds (not clover) use of a low-rate herbicide CHECK AND RECTIFY SOIL STRUCTURE BEFORE at a normal reseeding rate of application to suppress RENOVATING A LEY SAYS DUNCAN DAVISON 35kg/ha (14kg/acre) at a seed competition from the depth of 6mm (¼ inch). Good established sward. It is a tried action,” says Duncan. “It’s also soil-to-seed contact is essential, and trusted technique in his important to do soil analyses at and it is also important not to area in North Yorkshire, and like this stage and to look for any drill grass seed to deep – my any reseeding activity it starts signs of compaction. It may ‘rule of thumb’ is that the by ensuring the basics are well be that a field needs optimum seed depth is three- sorted out first. liming, for example, or sub- times the seed diameter.” “I’ll always start well in soiling – to rectify the problems With this kind of renovation advance – perhaps even the that are causing the existing ley typically favoured for long term autumn before - by assessing to under-perform – before grazing leys, white clover is the existing sward to see what’s embarking on any renovation. commonly a requirement, but INCORPORATE CLOVERS AS A SECOND there and decide whether ”It’s also important to check this is ideally carried out during STAGE OF RENOVATION renovation is the best course of for evidence of leatherjackets a second stage in the process. Leatherjackets (larvae of the the impact of March fly larvae crane fly) and the lesser known can be lessened through March fly larvae feed on the pasture management. In root systems of pasture grasses particular, graze down autumn and need to be controlled to pastures tightly to avoid ensure best performance of new excessive amounts of dead grass and established leys. Whilst over winter, as this will reduce leatherjackets are best the food supply and subsequent controlled with agrochemicals, numbers of larvae in the sward. LEATHERJACKET MARCH FLY LARVAE 6. Broadcasting the mixture: covers to get too high (800 to Maintaining clover Mix the clover seed with the fertiliser in the field. This will 1000 kg DM/ha) and graze out to low residuals (under 4 avoid the fertiliser and seed cm). As the clover seedlings in permanent pasture segregating on the way to the field. Simultaneously mix become established they will start to supply nitrogen to White clover does not persist indefinitely in permanent in the seed as fertiliser is the sward. grassland. However, research carried out by Teagasc at poured in to ensure an even Moorepark in Ireland has shown that the white clover mixture. Up to 12 acres can 8. Over-winter management: content of permanent grassland can be maintained by be done at one time. Graze tightly before closing over-sowing 20% of swards on a farm each year on a up for the winter and do not five-year rotation. The clover seed is mixed with a P & K 7. Post sowing management: leave a heavy cover build up fertilizer and broadcast onto silage stubble in late May. Apply slurry after over-sowing over the winter. Graze tightly but apply no nitrogen again in spring to allow light fertiliser for the remainder of to penetrate down to the leader-follower system is in the year. Fertiliser nitrogen clover stolons. More stolon 8 STEP GUIDE operation. The sward is partly will drive on the grass to the growth in spring greatly TO SUCCESSFUL grazed by the leaders and the detriment of the clover increases the clover content clover seed is broadcast and seedlings. Hard grazing is and productivity of swards OVER-SEEDING walked in by followers important. Do not allow later in the growing season. allowed in to graze out the 1. Soil fertility: sward. Over-sowing during Soil pH should be between the autumn is rarely 6.0 and 6.5, and the target for successful and is not P and K should be soil index recommended. 3. Refer to soil sample results. 5. Sowing rate: 2. Open swards: Apply clover seed with 0:7:30 For over-sowing to work the or similar fertiliser at a rate of clover seed has to come in around half a bag per acre. contact with the soil. Apply 2kg of a mixture of two Therefore over-sowing will good clover varieties selected work only where there is a from the Recommended List. reasonably open sward. For Pelleted or unpelleted seed poached swards and swards can be used with equal heavily infested with broad- success. leaved weeds reseeding is a better option. VARIETIES FOR OVER-SEEDING 3. Get rid of docks and other broad-leaved weeds: Criteria such as persistence areas, with varieties like G AberSheep – intensive Spray with a suitable and nitrogen tolerance may AberConcord demonstrating grazing herbicide before over-sowing well be important when the progress. if docks or other broad- selecting white clover Aber white clover varieties G AberPasture – set stocked leaved weeds are a problem. varieties for over-seeding. are available from British cattle grazing Once the clover is Significant strides have been Seed Houses in blends established the range of make in clover breeding at specifically created for the G AberDairy - rotational herbicides that can be used IBERS (formerly IGER) in these main sward use. grazing and cutting is greatly restricted (Dockstar is recommended). Breeding white clover for better tolerance to nitrogen Mean 3 years data 4. Sowing date: 14// No Nitrogen 150 kgN/ha/year 300 kgN/ha/year 450 kgN/ha/year v The best time to over-sow is during May and June before 12 the ground gets too dry. Moist soil conditions during 10 DM Yield t/ha and after over-sowing are 8 crucial to success. On heavy 13% wetter soils the ideal time is 6 Increase 30% after first cut silage in late 4 55% May or early June. On light 87% drier soils it is better to over- 2 sow earlier in May – after grazing or a harvest of bales. 0 Hard grazing before and AberConcord Menna AberConcord Menna AberConcord Menna AberConcord Menna afterwards is important to Grass Clover ensure success. One method Tolerance to N important not only for systems with high N application (e.g. dairy) but also for build up of clover N which can inhibit growth that works well is where a and contribute to the cycling of clover yield over years. Brassica break boosts reseeding value The recent revival in interest Time to prepare properly in brassica forage crops is in for grassland reseeding is a part due to fresh key element of the SwiftStart management angles on out- system – and particularly as it wintering and extended comes without the penalty of grazing. Whilst established lost forage acres. crops like Maris Kestrel kale are underpinning this revival, there is no doubt that SWIFTSTART significant added impetus is RESEEDING: being provided by the highly • Best practice versatile hybrid brassica • Break crop benefits Swift and the more recently introduced Redstart. • Maximises forage acres • Spring or autumn hese rape/kale hybrids T are the first commercial products from a unique brassica breeding programme that is being driven by New Zealand-based PGG “It’s vitally important to Wrightson Seeds. The make the best possible job of combination of rapid growth, grassland reseeding to ensure high palatability, proven top performance from the animal performance and new ley over its lifetime,” adds strong winter tolerance make Paul Billings. “Incorporating a Swift and Redstart well-suited ADDITIONAL QUALITY GRAZING PROVIDED BY A HYBRID BRASSICA BREAK CROP WITHIN A GRASS brassica break crop into the to the UK climate and hence RESEEDING PROGRAMME MEANS LOST FORAGE ACRES ARE MINIMISED. programme will have all the their use and value is advantages of enhanced increasing. grass reseed, this will be from “In the case of a spring weed, pest and disease One of the established grazing Redstart in the period reseed, we recommend control, whilst also affording advantages of brassicas in between ploughing up the grazing the old ley for longer the time to rectify soil livestock farming rotations is old ley after an early season into the season – or taking a nutrient levels and restore soil as a break crop in grassland grazing or silage cut and second cut – and then structure if required. reseeding programmes. Now, drilling the new ley in the establishing Swift in later “The SwiftStart system these traditional benefits early autumn. For those in summer to provide a lengthy offers a structured approach have been harnessed and more southerly locations, grazing through the autumn to reseeding that enhanced in a new grassland there is the possibility of a and into winter. There is then incorporates best practice reseeding system that second grazing of Redstart, ample time to make the whilst maintaining the exploits the unique qualities exploiting the potential of necessary preparations for a highest levels of forage dry of Swift and Redstart. regrowth from these hybrid spring grass reseed, or matter production. It’s a Developed by British Seed brassicas and therefore possibly grow spring barley system that works due to the Houses, the SwiftStart system further increasing the dry with grass undersown or unique characteristics of the can be used for spring or matter production. even forage maize.” hybrid brassicas.” autumn grassland reseeding and offers a number of Unique Hybrid Brassicas Further details on the significant advantages. SwiftStart grassland “Incorporating a hybrid The hybrid brassicas Swift and Redstart are the first commercially reseeding system are brassica break crop into a available varieties to emerge from the only interspecific forage available in reseeding programme results brassica-breeding programme currently in operation. Sophisticated a new Farm in additional forage dry “embryo rescue” procedures have been used to cross kale and rape Bulletin matter production during the plants to produce hybrids that have then undergone extensive field published process that is not possible breeding and selection. by British when going straight back Animal performance is a major focus of breeding and selection – Seed into grass,” explains Paul ensuring the varieties are palatable and nutritious as well as fast Houses. Billings of British Seed Houses. growing, high yielding and tolerant of a wide range of conditions. “In the case of an autumn Further information on Puna II Choose the right chicory perennial chicory and premium mixtures containing this variety is available from Interest in perennial chicory is British Seed Houses. There is growing dramatically since the also a Farm Bulletin on the launch of Puna II by British establishment and Seed Houses in 2007. Puna II is management of Puna II now widely used in the UK, available online and in printed most commonly as a form from British Seed Houses. component of grazing Call 01522 868714 or go mixtures in combination with online at perennial ryegrass and white www.britishseedhouses.com clover, or alongside red clover for finishing livestock, for example. Out-wintering Spreading the word on Puna II UK-based research on Puna II has PUNA II PERENNIAL CHICORY, SEEN HERE IN A LAMB FINISHING LEY WITH ABERRUBY RED CLOVER, sucklers also been building since its CREATED A LOT OF INTEREST IN LAST SUMMER’S SERIES OF GRAZING MANAGEMENT DAYS RUN JOINTLY A new publication BY BRITISH SEED HOUSES AND EBLEX introduction, with establishments providing a comprehensive such as Aberystwyth University, yields of highly palatable dry tolerance and mineral supply overview of out-wintering Newton Rigg, and SAC all having matter, and is proven in terms (both functions of a deep tap methods for suckler cows is reported on the performance of livestock growth rates as well root) and for its potential to now available from SAC. potential of this variety. as persistency in the sward. It is reduce worm burdens in Published jointly by SAC Puna II has been bred for high also known for its drought grazing livestock. and Quality Meat Scotland, with support from British UK Research Highlights Seed Houses, Rumenco, G Weaned Texel x Welsh Mule lambs on grazing leys containing Puna II perennial chicory Rappa and Scottish outperformed control groups grazing a red clover / Italian ryegrass sward or a pure forage Government, the 32-page rape stand in studies at Aberystwyth University (2007). booklet covers out- wintering on specialist Proportion of lambs slaughtered Proportion of lambs slaughtered brassica crops as well as the by 33 days into the trial by 49 days into the trial use of deferred grazing. Farm case studies and real Perennial ryegrass/ 70% 87% costs and experiences are white clover/Puna II included to make this a Red clover/Italian very practical and 60% 80% ryegrass inherently useful guide. Forage rape 37% 67% G In a comparative grazing study at Newton Rigg College, Penrith, Cumbria, 53% of lambs grazing a sward containing Puna II perennial chicory reached the target 38-40kg liveweight whilst just 18% of the comparison group (perennial ryegrass and clover) had attained target weight (2006-07). G In an SAC study to evaluate alternative forage brassicas for lamb finishing, Puna II was found to reduce feacal egg counts in grazing lambs (2007-08). FIND OUT Forage Brassicas: Year round cost savings and Farm Bulletin: Increasing Grazing Options with Puna II Chicory. MORE... feeding solutions. A selection of technical guides Bristol and Farm Bulletins is available Tel: 0117 982 3691 free on request from British Seed Mark 2009: Top quality Farm Bulletin: Successful Out- Lincoln Seed Houses. grazing and silage mixtures, wintering on Maris Kestrel Kale. Tel: 01522 868714 including AberHSG and other IGER- bred varieties. www.britishseedhouses.co.uk Please contact The Forager is published as an information service for livestock either the farmers by Germinal Holdings’ Lincoln or Companies, British Seed Houses and Farm Bulletin: Using the BSH Clover Management Guide: Best Germinal Ireland. Bristol Sward Stick (available with free practice guide for red and white Germinal Holdings does not accept any offices for Sward Stick, pictured left). clover. responsibility for the views or opinions your free of independent contributors. copy.
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