• Best husbandry means replacing old leys when production starts to drop.
• You should consider soil health so always sample and test for pH, phosphate and potassium as a minimum requirement.
• By applying farmyard manure or poultry litter you will contribute significantly to rectifying any fertiliser issues.
• Are there any pests or weeds that need dealing with before establishment? You must at least consider slugs, wireworm, leatherjackets and frit fly.
• Consider break crops like stubble turnips, kale, cereals or maize. They help break the pest life cycle and allow opportunities to control deep rooting weeds like docks and thistles.
• Clean up ground by desiccating with glyphosate to kill weeds.
• Spread manure at the necessary rate before cultivating.
• Fine seeds like grass seed, clover and roots need a good fine firm seedbed.
• Soil temperature needs to be above 5 degrees.
• Consolidation with a Cambridge roll will reduce slug activity and help germination of the seed.
• Sowing should be measured by using a drill metering system but broadcasting is preferred if sowing with clover.
• If you sow the seed too deep you may never see it again!! 5-10mm depth is enough for grass seed and clover.
• Overseeding should take place after cutting silage or grazing tightly.
• When soils are dry, chain harrow hard to create some tilth and remove old thatch to allow light and moisture to penetrate soils.
• Sow suitable seed mix and consolidate with rolls or run sheep over it to press in the seed.
• Don’t close the gate and forget about newly planted crops.
• It is imperative to check for slug and pest activity on a weekly basis when conditions are suitable for them to thrive.
• Weeds can suppress plant growth and sometimes smother out completely. The hard work has been done so don’t let this happen.
• Apply Nitrogen in early spring if conditions allow. Mid-February is not too early to start applying Nitrogen.
• If you have a grazing ley established, it will help if you run sheep over it early on to improve tillering but do not overgraze or poach.
• Perrenial Ryegrass is very responsive to Nitrogen. Feeding nitrogen throughout the leys life span will help the grass ley reach its potential.
• Red and White Clover is very beneficial and helps the grass recover quickly after turning stock off or cutting.
• For best D-value silage aim to cut at 5 percent heading.