EBLEX Paves Way for Pasture Improvement

UK - The opportunity for producers to continue to select the best grasses and clover for pasture improvement is to be provided by an industry-led consortium.
calendar icon 7 August 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

EBLEX, DairyCo, HCC, AIC, BGS and the British Society of Plant Breeders have secured the future of the Recommended Grass and Clover List until 2016. This new arrangement means that for the first time the full list, with over 4,400 data points, will be available to all farmers and merchants across England and Wales.

Dr Liz Genever, EBLEX beef and sheep scientist, said: “Producers having access to independently tested varieties has taken on more significance this year, as more re-seeding may be needed due to the poor weather conditions we have experienced. As such, the Recommended Grass and Clover List will continue to play a crucial role as it provides essential information on the best performing grasses and clovers available.

“Many silage fields have been damaged this year while removing the crop, which does not only affect silage quality but future yields. It is important to assess fields as soon as possible for compaction and loss of ground cover. Digging holes at various points around the fields will give you a good idea of if compaction has been caused. The ideal kit for dealing with compaction problems varies – if it is between one and 10 cm, an aerator can be used, between 10 and 30cm a sward lifter is needed, and if deeper, a plough or sub-soiler may be required.

“Where swards have become very open at the base and ground cover has fallen below 85 per cent then yields will be compromised and the risk of weed ingress increased. There may be recovery through tillering and infill by clover this summer/autumn, but introducing new seed is likely to be more effective at restoring ground cover, especially if levels are at 70 per cent or below.”

“Combine all this information with knowledge about the age of the ley, the percentage of sown species left (more than 80 per cent is the target, but less than 50 per cent is when a re-seed is needed), the change in yield compared to similar fields on the farm and where it fits into rotation, you will be able to generate a list of fields in priority order for action.

“If re-seeding is required, the Recommended Grass and Clover List is the perfect reference tool to ensure the correct types of grasses and clovers are present in the seeds mixture and that the individual varieties are the elite performers.”

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