Mixing it up in grass seed variety choices
Use Recommended List to decide which characteristics make up the best mixes for your soil types
Published 05/04/2011 | 05:00
Perennial ryegrass, Italian ryegrass and white clover account for practically all of the grass/clover seed sold in Ireland.
Of these, perennial ryegrass is by far the most important, accounting for around 95pc of forage grass seed sold here. Other species of grass and clover are not commonly used.
Individual varieties of grass differ in performance characteristics, depending on maturity group and ploidy. These differences may be further exaggerated by factors such as climate, soil type and system of farming.
Increased demands on grassland, with regard to early spring grass, mid-season production and extended grazing in the autumn, mean that care needs to be taken in the selection of suitable grass seed mixtures.
The aim when choosing a grass variety mix is to select a combination of three to four grass varieties with differing traits that, when used together, will produce a good dry matter yield from spring to autumn, and have a high sward density.
The Department of Agriculture's Recommended List of grass and clover varieties includes only those that have a proven record of performance over a period of years at several locations across the country, and are deemed most suitable for Irish conditions.
As such, this year's Recommended List is the 'bible' for growers to choose grass mixes.
Available to download from the Department of Agriculture website, varieties on the Recommended List are divided according to maturity or heading date and ploidy, and given scores for total yield, ground cover, spring growth, autumn growth, dry matter digestibility and water soluble carbohydrate levels.