22 Farming Independent Tuesday 4 August 2020 Farming Reseeding PHOTO: HANY MARZOUK Reseeding can be a trial and error process until you settle on the right method for your farm Our farm is very stony and the method we used back then was to (try to) plough and then rotavate the soil. This was a very expensive, slow and labour intensive method that resulted in only small areas being done each year. But we have made fantastic progress by using the disc and one pass on some of our better fields, in particular if we are spreading manure or if there is an old scraw on the outfarm We have a preference for a min-till system because our land is so stony and in recent years we are using the Guttler seeder more, especially if the field is level and the weather is damp. September. Now we only reseed when growth exceeds demand from mid-April onwards and we aim to be finished by the end of July so that all the farm is available to build cover from early August onwards. There are many reasons for paddocks not performing and sometimes a much bigger challenge are fields that have been reseeded in recent years but have lost productivity. This requires an in depth assessment of the sward to determine if there is ryegrass present or has it been overtaken by weed grasses and weeds. We know the tetraploid grasses are very productive, but require more frequent renewal. We use the soil analysis to determine the Lime and P and K status, as well as digging the soil to check for compaction and general soil health. I believe that since we began grazing our farm from early February as the cows calve – combined with grazing at lower covers getting up to 10 grazings each year – the sward has become more persistent because there is always light getting to the base. To maximise production we have set ourselves a target of reseeding 12pc of the milking platform every year. We are once again looking to establish and retain clover in our pastures. To achieve this, a number of factors are important such as improving our knowledge, the fertility status of the soil, a reduction in N usage from May on and, probably most crucial of all, the avoidance of sprays for weed control. Dairy Henry Walsh T o reseed or not reseed, that is the question. On our farm the usual form of reseeding is a grass sward going back into new grass in as short a time as possible, ideally eight weeks. The decision to reseed is based on weekly measurements comparing the tonnes of grass grown annually on each paddock. We want to introduce clover and grow 15 tonnes per hectare of highly palatable, nutritious pasture. In the early years we reseeded to level the land and sow more productive perennial ryegrass. That involved a lot of hard work as we usually did all the tilling ourselves. Progression This progression over the years in simplifying the tilling process was critical in allowing us to increase the area sown and the tonnes of grass grown on the farm This progression over the years in simplifying the tilling process was critical in allowing us to increase the area sown and the tonnes of grass grown on the farm. Another factor that has changed is the time of year as traditionally we would be tilling in the very busy period of late March or else Henry and Patricia Walsh farm in Oranmore, Co Galway along with their son Enda and neighbour and outfarm owner John Moran
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