11 September 1998

Pep-up tired pastures

SPRING-TINE weeder rakes could be used now to pep-up tired pastures, and may be more effective and economic than slot seeding, according to Lewis Owen, of Oliver Seeds and GRAS.

He says rakes, usually sold to arable and organic producers, can be fitted with their own seeders or seed could be broadcast after raking, then rolled.

Best results are in swards which are grazed hard or cut tight before seeding.

Although weather-dependent for success, he says: "We believe it is a realistic alternative to direct drilling grass seed, as well as being a viable way of incorporating legumes such as clover."

But Mr Owen warns that only vigorous varieties should be used, which are well able to compete with established species.

He also considers it probably too late to patch in clover this year. "It takes a long time to establish and needs to be growing well before the frost starts."

Spring-tine weeders can do about 8ha (20 acres) a day and are available for hire at about £50 a day in some dairying areas, says Mr Owen. &#42