17 July 1998

Reseeds needed for elite herds

ACHIEVING high grass dry matter intakes with high genetic merit cows may require more frequent reseeding to maintain grass quality, and means producers should plan ahead for reseeding strategy.

Thats the warning from NIABs forage specialist Jim McVittie. He explains that producing high milk yields from grass means cows must be offered taller grass, which could see longer grass stalks left in spring and autumn.

"This will discourage tillering, producing more gaps in a sward and making it more prone to winter kill because it has fewer buds, and increase risk of poaching."

Management of this grazed grass should be more akin to that of conservation swards, except grass is not cut as short during grazing, discouraging tillering, he adds.

According to Dr McVittie, providing high quality grass to support high cow yields and intakes may require more reseeding. Producers aiming at high cow intakes should plan ahead to ensure they dont get caught out with grass production decreasing across the whole farm at the same time, he advises.