Where a full reseed is impractical or unwarranted, short term productivity can be improved through a number of different overseeding methods. When overseeding, it pays to use the best available varieties that have been selected specifically for the purpose.
Regular reseeding without ploughing and good sward management keeps lamb production per hectare on target for Northern Ireland sheep farmer Crosby Cleland, who farms at 76ha Brookmount Farm, Saintfield, County Down.
As with all aspects of his farming, Crosby pays close attention to detail when selecting his seeds mixtures. He uses the best available perennial ryegrasses from the Recommended List, with mixtures mainly comprising intermediate and late heading Aber High Sugar Grass varieties selected for grazing or silage making. He also includes compatible Aber white clovers, to boost forage quality and reduce his reliance on bought–in fertiliser.
Recently, on some of the heavier soils, Timothy has been added to the mixture (a return to Crosby’s grandfather’s approach) and is producing a better sward.
“Our sheep do very well on the Aber leys,” says Crosby. “The leys establish well and produce very good regrowths after grazing or silage making.
Including white clover certainly improves overall forage quality and reduces the amount of artificial fertiliser that we need to apply.”