- 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 the 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 seed bed.
- 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 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 over graze 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 grass recover quickly after turning stock off or cutting.
- For best D-value silage aim to cut at 5% heading.