An old sward might be cheaper to maintain (£131/acre/year) compared with a ley that is reseeded every five years (£172/acre a year), but it’s 30% less productive.

New forage costings produced by Kingshay Farming Trust, supported by Advanta Seeds, show that new leys have higher yields of better quality grass. The net effect is that they support milk production at a cost of 3.2p/litre. Old swards can cost 5.0p/litre to produce the same energy and protein.

“The report shows that swards with a high white clover content can reduce milk production costs by 0.4p/litre,” said Kingshay’s technical manager Martin Yeates.