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Take the chance to boost your forage stocks this autumn

With the relentlessly wet harvest at an end for most - or very nearly at an end - thoughts have already turned towards new season crop establishment.

This time last year, following the very dry summer, many grappled with poor conditions for sowing grass and forage and as a result quite a lot of seed remained in the shed. Our colleague, Dave Harris, did a great blog earlier this year highlighting the value in reseeding grassland and investing into new leys.

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Grass and forage - where quality really counts

Choosing a grass reseeding mix can be tricky. Even so, the phrase "No, surely its simple" is one I often hear, as well as assumptions that "one field of green is the same as the next." However, with the quality and diversity of work carried out by plant breeders over the last 70 years or so, each field really is different in terms of output.

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How can we bridge the forage gap?

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"When one door closes, another opens" - a statement we know all too well in farming. With harvest drawing to a close, efforts are now turning to sowing for the season ahead. It is great to see heaps piled high of dry grain, however, the extreme temperatures and lack of moisture have meant that livestock feed sources have struggled. On my travels around the country visiting farmers, it is clear to see how much damage has been done.

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Reviving grassland

There are many reasons to sow new grass leys, but none more prominent than having some in poor condition following the wettest winter on record and one of the hardest spring droughts.

The recent rainfall will help things but it cannot reverse the damage that's already been done. Unfortunately, many leys have lost key elements, allowing weed grasses such as annual meadow grass, rough stalked meadow grass and couch grass to populate the thinner areas. 

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Maximizing grassland production

Much of the grass in Herefordshire, where I am based, suffered during the difficult weather conditions of 2018 and consequently producers should focus on optimising nutrition to restore both quality and yield potential to former levels, with K and S being essential in this process. This season NKS fertilisers containing potash and sulphur alongside...

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