How reseeding helped this beef farmer double his stock numbers
SINCE joining the Teagasc Green Acres Calf to Beef programme, Michael Ryan has doubled the numbers of calves reared and slaughtered from his farm. Carrying higher stock numbers on the same area of land requires more grass.
Michael now reseeds about 10pc of his farm each year. The new grass allows him to increase the carrying capacity of his farm and greatly improve the grass quality.
MICHAEL’S 10 POINT PLAN FOR RESEEDING
1. Identify fields for reseeding Poor performing fields should be targeted. Grass measuring or counting the number of grazing on a particular field in the previous year can give a very good idea as to which field are not producing the same as their counterparts. There was a big difference in grass grown and number of grazing’s on paddocks across the farm, low yielding paddocks tended to occur where the perennial ryegrass had fallen below 40-50pc of the sward.
2. When should I reseed? Depending on weather, Michael prefers to reseed in April/early May. There is a shorter turnaround time and conditions are more favourable for germination and establishment. Once the grass has emerged, there are more opportunities to apply a post emergence spray to control docks etc and also the chance to get a light grazing to promote better tillering is possible.
3. Soil test Having a recent soil test of the area that you plan to reseed is very important. Reseeding is a costly operation and everything needs to be right for the grass seed to flourish. Michael has an up to date soil test for phosphorus, potassium and pH at a minimum.
4. Spraying off the field The old permanent pasture is always sprayed off with a glyphosate spray. After seven to 10 days, he either grazes or mows the old sward to remove thrash.
5. Decide on method of reseeding All methods are effective when carried out correctly and a fine firm seedbed provided. Nowadays, he tends towards the minimum cultivation techniques. The ground is heavy disked twice and then sown with a one pass. Keeping soil disturbance to a minimum where the most fertile soil is kept at ground level and this ground can also better support machinery and stock for the first grazing.