Reseeding worn-out grazing to best practice standards costs an extra £13/acre a year, but yields a 7:1 return on investment, according to new guidelines published by Monsanto and British Seed Houses.

“It’s important to get reseeding right,” said Paul Billings from British Seed Houses. “In the past, producers have been able to cover up mistakes by applying nitrogen – but not at today’s prices. Increasing legume content becomes crucial and remember that if your pasture is 10 years old, then your plant varieties are 10 years out of date.”

The online Reseeding Checklist is available at and shows how the combination of increased yield and grazing quality from a newly established ley on dairy farms is worth 1,100 litres/acre a year. “At 25p/litre this adds up to £275/acre a year. Reseeding to best practice costs £38/acre for each year of a five-year ley (see table).”

He advised farmers who rely on their seed supplier for advice to make sure that varieties are only selected from the Herbage Varieties Levy Scheme, to ensure the best material tested in the UK. D-values and dry matter yield are the two key criteria for grazing.

Typical reseeding costs

 

Standard

Best practice

Seed (£/acre)

£35

£45

Fertiliser (£/acre)

£40

£60

Chemicals (£/acre)

£10

£25

Labour and machinery (£/acre)

£40

£60

Total establishment cost (£/acre)

£125

£190

Establishment cost (£/acre a year)

£25

£38

Extra cost of best practice (£/acre a year)

 

£13