Donald Bateman host farmer, Bernard Ging Irish Grassland Association President, Lucy Bateman host farmer and Jim Gibbons ISTA event sponsor.
As part of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Year of Sustainable Grassland initiative, the Irish Grassland Association are organising a free admission Reseeding Demonstration event for members on Wednesday 17th May. The aim of this event will be to promote the benefits of reseeding and best practice procedures that farmers can follow to achieve better yields from their grassland. The Irish Seed Trade Association are kindly sponsoring the event and it will be held on the farm of Donald and Lucy Bateman, Ballylooby, Cahir, Co Tipperary.
The Batemans have been dairy farming in Ballylooby since 1999 and currently milk 230 cows on 82 hectares. Donald and Lucy’s’ focus has always been on utilising grass to help them to successfully reach their profit targets. Through adopting an ongoing program of reseeding, combined with good grassland management practices, the Batemans have maximised their overall farm output. The figures involved are very impressive – the farm grew 14.5 t/ha of grass dry matter (DM) and produced 440kg of milk solids per cow (1254 kg/ha) in 2016.
On the day of the demonstration, leading experts will speak and give advice on a range of topics relating to reseeding grassland. All farmers should find this of interest regardless of their farm system or soil type as there will be numerous lessons and take-home messages delivered.
The schedule for the day is summarised below:
Farm Introduction: hosts Donald and Lucy Bateman will outline their history on the farm and discuss their experience so far of the reseeding program that has been implemented. Teagasc Business and Technology dairy advisor James Mullane will explore the reasons behind the need to reseed. In his discussion, James will highlight the key areas that contribute towards the decision making process when considering reseeding for any individual farm. James will also illustrate the benefits of reseeding such as improved grass yields and feeding quality of grass along with the potential for an extended grazing season, a key component of optimising the farm’s profit potential.
Weed control: reseeding represents a significant but worthwhile cost, though it’s potential can be hampered by failure to take necessary measures to control weeds. The second section will discuss the post-sowing management of the new reseed. Chris Maughan of TP Whelehan will investigate best weed and pest control measures in a new reseed sown for the day. Chris will discuss the importance of good timing of post-emergence weed control while illustrating how weeds and pests can quickly and seriously reduce the quality and performance of the new sward if not addressed.
Grazing management: Deirdre Hennessy of Teagasc in Moorepark will then speak on Grazing Management of a new reseed to include areas such as grazing height of the sward and ideal stocking rates. Benefits of good grazing management are optimum establishment and tillering of the grass plants which long term will help set the sward up for positive persistency and the capacity for higher stocking rates.
Grass variety selection: Selecting the most suitable grass variety or mixture of varieties to suit your system and land type can have a big influence on subsequent performance. Michael O’Donovan, also of Teagasc Moorepark, is a specialist in this area and will share his experience and selection criteria tips in selecting the most suitable varieties for any individual system. In doing this Michael will also refer to and explain the Department of Agriculture’s Recommended Listing and the Teagasc Pasture Profit Index (PPI).
Reseeded paddocks will not perform to their potential if soil fertility is not correct. The last presentation is therefore critical as Stan Lalor of Grassland AGRO and a member of the IGA council discusses the importance of soil fertility and shares valuable advice on liming and optimum fertiliser use when reseeding.
Unlike other reseeding events, attendees on the day will have an opportunity to see the results of three cultivation methods. Comparison blocks on the site will have been reseeded approximately four weeks in advance of the event using the following machines.
Direct drill system with a power harrow and seed drill.
An assessment of the success and pros and cons of each of the methods should lead to an interesting discussion on the day. There will be a stationary display and discussion of the machinery used for each method. There will also be a discussion on ground preparation and the factors influencing choice of suitable cultivation systems.
This demonstration should be of interest to all grassland farmers and members of the agri-industry and will run on Wednesday 17 May from 10.30am until 1pm. Please contact the Irish Grassland Association for further details or keep up to date with our website www.irishgrassland.com for full details of all our events. .