Yes it is very wet out there!
However, walking fields recently Rod Bonshor has made the following observations:
- Leys that have been established by broadcasting (especially surface broadcasting with the drill tubes pulled out of the coulters) have provided far better ground cover and weed suppression than those that have been drilled in rows. These leys will also be far better able to carry machinery and avoid soil picking up on tyres and consequent damage.
- Where slurry has been applied through the winter, grass is in far better condition and further forward than leys that have remained unfertilized.
- Most of the fields inspected were relatively clean but there were several fields with high chickweed/broadleaf weed incidence so this wants controlling as soon as sprayers can travel.
- Some grass fields have been sacrificed to a greater level than intended and are in desperate need of renovation work. Typhoon overseeding mix is ideal in such situations. Guidelines are available should you need them.
- Some older grass fields that were a tad neglected last year have infilled with moss. Moss is a factor of compaction, waterlogged soils and shade. If you scuff the moss around you spread the spores and create……….more moss. There is a product called Di ard that is an iron based relatively cheap spray that knocks the moss out overnight. Once again, it is important to populate the spaces with desired species and overseeding is a good way of achieving this.
Many areas struggled to make good quality silage last year. Couple this with some herds being inside since August 2017 and you can see why certain farms are now out of forage and straw is at a premium. I heard that Haylage is selling at £47 per 500 kilo bale this morning.
Grass growth is very tardy this year on the back of the long, cold spring and this means many farms will be looking for “instant” forage crops over the coming weeks. Oliver Seeds offer opportunities in two particular areas:
- Tornado – the unique combination of Westerwolds and Italian ryegrass provides bulk from a spring sown ley perhaps in as little as 8-10 weeks. At £36 per acre, this is less than the value of one of the bales of Haylage mentioned above.
- Adding Westerwolds to some of our standard range of ley mixtures. All other grasses have to go through a winter and vernalize before throwing a stem and seed head, so the only way of adding bulk to grass forage crops sown over the coming weeks is to add 25% Westerwolds and push the seed rate up to 17 kilos per acre. As the Westerwolds dies out, the main elements in the ley mixture take over.
As ever, we are here to help so please contact the office or your usual Oliver Seeds supplier with your enquiries.