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How to Select Grass Seed Mixtures to Suit Your Requirements.

How to Select Grass Seed Mixtures to Suit Your Requirements.

Below are some tips to think about to make sure you are choosing the correct mixture:

Make sure the varieties within the mixture are on the Grass & Clover Recommended List. This will ensure higher yields, better D values, improved disease resistance, increased ground cover, improved winter hardiness and a better return on investment compared to non-listed varieties.

Lighter soils: Festuloliums should be considered as they are extremely useful on dry, light land. They have increased stress tolerances as a result of the fescue that is bred into them. A higher proportion of tetraploids may also be better as they have a deeper rooting system compared to diploids and will scavenge for moisture better.

Heavier soils: Diploids may be better as they tiller out more and provide a dense base which will help prevent poaching.

Talk to your Seed Specialist/Agronomist in years. One person’s thoughts on medium term is different to another.
For perennial ryegrass mixtures that are intended to last long term, make sure that varieties within the mix will last the full length of time.

A mix containing early perennial ryegrasses varieties will only last 4-5 years so these varieties would not suit a long term mixture lasting 7 years.

A 3-4 year cutting mix should not contain any Italian ryegrass as they only last 2 years. It may cheapen the mix but the production would drop dramatically in years 3 and 4, meaning the ley isn’t fit for purpose.

If grazing and early spring growth is important for an early turnout, then intermediate perennial ryegrasses should be used. They will last longer than early perennial ryegrass and still produce early spring growth which would suit medium and long term grazing, cutting and dual purpose mixtures.

If your soil type and location don’t allow you to turnout early, then a mixture containing all late perennial ryegrass should be considered as it will start growing slightly later in the growing season so less grass is wasted in the sward.

This will impact whether you want to cut or graze the sward. Also if a field is close to the farm and gets used a lot, you may then want to use a mix with a high diploid content which will provide greater ground cover.

First of all, decide how long you want the mix to last. Then if you want flexibility with the ability to cut and graze, choose a mix containing both diploids and tetraploids.

If predominantly cutting, choose a mix with a high tetraploid content as tetraploids have a higher cutting yield, quicker regrowth and a higher level of water soluble carbohydrates which will aid the fermentation process.

If intensively rotational grazing, then choose a mix that can cope with this style of management and provide good ground cover and quick regrowth.

If intensively tight grazing, then use a mix with a high diploid content. Diploids have a higher DM/kg of feed and will also tiller out better than tetraploids, which will create a dense sward. Look at the mixture selector to help decide what mix is suitable for your grassland management.

If you expect significant weed problems then choose a no clover mixture. Consult your agronomist about appropriate herbicides and
timings to control the weeds. Once the herbicides are applied and the weeds are addressed, introduce the clover at a later date if required.

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