Low level of reseeding is an issue that must be addressed
Reseeding levels in Ireland are low ranging from 250,000 acres to 320,000 acres annually; in general approximately 2pc of our annual grassland area is reseeded.
As grass is our main feed during the main grazing season, and the primary source of winter forage from grass silage, the low level of reseeding must be addressed.
The increase in the dairy herd size post the abolition of quotas, combined with the focus on efficient beef and sheep meat production means reseeding was never as important as it is now to help keep down high input costs.
The results from Teagasc's national grassland database, PastureBase Ireland, show that there is huge capacity on Irish farms to grow more grass, current annual tonnage is 13.7t DM/ha for dairy farms.
In recent years, on-farm grass variety evaluation has been established, the most recent results show close to a 2t DM/ha difference between varieties with large differences in digestibility and grazing utilisation.
This article is focussed of variety choice for the coming season, given the new format of the Irish Recommended list, variety choice should be based on using the DAFM Recommended list and Pasture Profit Index.
This year, DAFM have published the recommended list, showing the Pasture Profit Index values and agronomic values of the evaluation. See www.agriculture.gov.ie.