Grassland management

Tips on successful grassland management

Stable sward, a high-yield harvest and high-quality staple feed which livestock find highly palatable: you should take the following tips from AGRAVIS if you wish to achieve such qualities in your grassland.

Start grassland care immediately

If grassland areas may still look good at first glance after a mild winter, but on closer look, many crops are overgrown with a matted, clotted sward and a high proportion of wheatgrass and annual meadow grass. If the weather conditions allow, grassland care should be started immediately to counteract quality losses if machines can be driven onto the grassland.

Check list for grassland

✔ Raking/levelling
✔ Rolling
✔ Overseeding/reseeding
✔ Crop protection
✔ Fertilisation

In the case of heavily overgrown crops, it is also advisable to maintain grassland with a first cut and remove the dead material before vegetation starts.

Annual overseeding

Alongside rolling, raking, levelling, re-mowing and crop protection, overseeding plays a special role in regular care. Grassland areas need to be overseeded annually to maintain a high-performance crop comprising more than 80 per cent high-quality grasses. Crops must be enhanced at regular intervals to cover patches and suppress weeds, thus further securing yield and quality. Continuity is crucial in this process. Those who only act when imperfections and performance losses appear will be too late. Anyone who left things to chance or had no choice but to abandon grassland last year is forced to make a move this year.

Download PDF “Nachsaat - eine Frage des Timings” (Overseeding – a question of timing)

Tips on overseeding

It is advisable to overseed or reseed, depending on the condition (proportion of high-quality grasses and gaps). During overseeding, 5 to 10 kilograms of seed are sown per hectare in the spring and, if possible, in the autumn on the grassland area using direct sowing or seed drilling methods. When selecting the grass mix, attention should be paid not only to the mix quality but also to its suitability for the location and what the grass will be used for.

Objective: more extensive harvest window

Plantinum mixes are suitable for overseeding. They are based on the energy-rich, rust-resistant varieties of German rye grass which the North German Chambers of Agriculture have recommended. Using mid and late rye grass varieties ensures uniform maturity in the crop and a slower deterioration in energy densities. The result is a significantly more extensive harvest window. . Plantinum mixes use German rye grasses suited to boglands only. Their durability, hardiness and regeneration properties ensure high yield potential, even in difficult locations. The portfolio is complemented with high-grade varieties of timothy grass, common meadow grass and other mixing partners.

Overseeding or reseeding?

It is advisable to overseed or reseed, depending on the proportion of high-quality grasses and extent of patches. The Plantinum Intensiv and Plantinum Universal are highly recommended for overseeding.

If the sward is enhanced with 5 to 10 kilograms of Plantinum in an overseeding process every year, the energy content in grass silage can be increased by 0.3 MJ NEL for the long term with ongoing maintenance. Thanks to the improved quality and digestibility of silage, feed intake also increases by 0.3 to 0.5 kilograms of dry matter. As a result, it is possible to produce an additional output of 387 litres per cow and lactation (305 days). An extra 9,675 euros milk money (0.25 euros) can be earned with a herd of 100 dairy cows.

Yield and quality in grassland management

When selecting the grass mix, the suitability of the location and end use of the mixes should also be taken into account alongside certification. A seed mix which appeals to buyers due to an attractive price usually means low seed quality, thus actually proving to be too expensive for sowing in terms of useful life and performance.

Suitability for boglands

  • Grasses in a variety trial are subjected to at least three years of typical practical use at bogland locations to test their suitability for bogland use.
  • Less than 10 per cent of the tested varieties are granted the “M” for bogland suitability.
  • Distinguishing characteristics include endurance performance, superior regeneration capacity and good hardiness.

What challenges do bogland locations present?

1. Limited phosphorus and potassium content with a low nutrient storage capacity
2. Soils frozen solid (roots break off)
3. Oxygen deficiency in rhizosphere
4. Late warming and extreme temperature differences at ground level, especially fluctuations between day and night, and late frosts in the spring or early frosts in the autumn
5. Micro-climate (optimal conditions for fusarium species and other fungal diseases)

The robust varieties are also able to put their positive properties to good use on mineral soils and help to establish stability of yield.

Overseeding or replanting?

Overseeding or replanting?