16 August 2002

Ulstermen face major reseeding

AFTER one of the worst summers for 100 years, Northern Ireland producers face carrying out extensive reseeding programmes to maintain livestock production at acceptable levels.

Reseeding is necessary where ryegrass content of swards has fallen and this often occurs after poaching, warns DARDs Trevor Gilliland. "The amount of weed grasses infesting swards is surprising.

"Once wheel ruts have dug deeply through the soil surface or stock have churned swards open and pitted ground it will recover and green up again, but not with ryegrass. To maintain grass performance and quality on farm it is wise to have a planned reseeding cycle."

But some pastures have become so wet in NI that reseeding may be impossible until next spring, says Greenmount College dairy business technologist Alan Hopps. "Some are saying this is the worst summer in NI for 100 years. Many producers cannot even get on land to fertilise it, let alone reseed it."

NIdairy processors report milk production down 8-10% on a usual summer, he adds. &#42