Annual re-seeding target remains at 5-10pc
Despite having the highest recorded grass output in the country last year, Mick Magan plans to maintain his annual reseeding target of 5-10pc.
"We'll be taking out the lowest producing fields this year - the ones producing down around 15-16tDM/ha. That may sound crazy because that's not a bad level of output, but it's still 5tDM/ha lower than what the best fields here are doing. We also notice that reseeds tend to produce for longer in the autumn, and get going earlier in the spring," he says, acknowledging the increased value of additional grass during these lean shoulder months.
Reseeding is targeted at the period centred around the longest day of the year - June 21.
"We target this date for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we reckon it's a better use of our money replacing lower than average paddocks when we're growing a surplus, rather than turning it all into silage.
"The second reason for reseeding at this time is to minimise the amount of time that it takes to get the paddock back into the equation. If we reseed three to four weeks before this date, we can have the area back in the grazing rotation within 42 days. That's a lot less time out of the mix compared to doing it in the autumn, and it ensures that you get in for an early grazing to get that tillering effect.
"In fact, last year we had the cows back in grazing our reseeds within 40 days. They only were in for about five hours on fairly light covers, but that allowed us to graze it to the butt and get the tillering process started. The short time helped protect the ground from getting poached. The dry conditions last year would've helped also," says Mick.
His figures show that last year's reseed out-performed their worst producing field, even though it was out of production for 40 days at the height of the grazing season.
The reseeding technique used is a standard one - the sward is sprayed off with glyphosate, and grazed tight or cut for silage. Then it gets a heavy application of farmyard manure - "every bit we have in the place!" according to Mick. This is ploughed down, before the ground is sown with a single-pass harrow-and-seeder.