Maximising production on your own farm is one of the best ways to manage the increased costs of inputs. Fertiliser and fuel prices are out of the livestock farmers control – but growing as much energy and protein at home is a decision more and more farmers are taking, to increase their profitability.

Overseeding is a simple but cost-effective way to refresh old or damaged sward. Overseeding can be more efficient and reduces the amount of time that forage is out of production.

To ensure the maximum benefit of Overseeding, the existing ley still needs to contain a good proportion of sown species. The process will be more successful if completed when a sward has just been cut or grazed, as this will reduce the competition to the new seed. Species with large seeds, such as tetraploids, work best as they compete better with the existing grasses.

Timing is important with Overseeding as reducing competition from the existing sward is the main objective.  The ideal time is July to September; ideally Overseeding should be left during May and June when there is excessive grass growth.

Full reseeds are not always possible or not allowed in certain situations. Stoney fields, wild life habitat or simply trying to retain carbon in the soil, all lend themselves to Overseeding existing fields with new grass seed.

If the Overseeding mixtures contain clover, then care should be taken to NOT sow the seeds too deep. Clover seeds need to be near the surface as they are very small and have less vigour to get to the surface than ryegrass seedlings.

Key guides to success with Overseeding: 

  • Minimise the growth on the existing sward by cutting or grazing very low.
  • Do not apply nitrogenous fertiliser or slurry for 3 weeks.
  • Maximise the seed to soil contact by scarifying or drilling and rolling.
  • In cutting situations only overseed after the last cut of the year.
  • Large tetraploid seeds should be used as they have higher seedling vigour.

For expert advice on Overseeding contact us.