Autumn presents a good time for pasture renovation as temperatures begin to fall. Farms across the globe are making comprehensive plans, testing their soil’s fertility, using nitrogen for greater productivity and renovating pastures this autumn. Are you ready for reseeding your pasture in autumn? Take a good read and learn how to achieve fall targets.
Let the Autumn begin! Farms across the globe are picking up their hoes and getting ready for managing pasture renovation.
Autumn is the time to tickle the earth; reseed or overseed. What to sow in autumn depends upon the soil type, climatic conditions, and rainfall in your region. Determine whether your paddock needs reseeding or overseeding while considering the paddock condition and your budget. Reseeding your pasture can bring 8% more milk production. That’s a huge reseeding incentive for every dairy farmer!
Wisdom is to pick the highly fertile paddock that will respond quickly to renovation and provide high-quality nutritional feed by the late autumn, throughout winters, and spring. The soil condition of the paddock is a key factor that determines which species pasture management will sow.
Today, we resow paddocks. We will discuss how to pick and prioritize which paddocks to reseed considering the cost of renovation, which species to plant according to the soil type, soil fertility, and moisture levels prevailing in the region. Let’s begin.
Make a comprehensive plan
Assess the farm condition for its green cover. You can use manual methods for a rough estimation or use Pasture.io’s satellite measurement program that provides an accurate assessment of your pasture. Identify which parts of the paddock need oversowing and which paddocks are in for an overhaul.
Farm management ought to test the soil samples from strategic areas to gauge soil fertility. Depending upon the results, prioritize resowing in highly fertile areas. For moderately and low fertile areas, determine fertilizer program. Test the soil if you have not done it in past three years. We also recommend consulting your agronomist.
|Paddock Condition||Management Response|
|Highly Fertile||Pick the first and reseed. Fertile paddocks will be quick to grow and contribute to rotational grazing.|
|Moderately Fertile||Paddocks that fall in the mid-levels of fertility will require more soil preparation time, fertilizer, and effluent. These paddocks may cost a bit more, but they will provide good grazing in upcoming winters.|
|Low Fertility||Rundown paddocks may respond well to renovation after the application of fertilizer, mainly Nitrogen.|
|Poorly Fertile||Low priority areas of the farm that have not performed well over the years will require time-consuming and costly maintenance. They respond well to short term species like annual ryegrass before they can be sown with perennial grasses.|
What species to Sow?
The demand for seeds in autumn is high. It is best to secure your seeds early to avoid any unwanted circumstances. Your choice of seeds ought to consider your soil type, rainfall patterns in your region, and farming practices.
In dairy regions, ryegrass is common. Other species of choice include;
- Winter cereals
We recommend taking advice and information from your agronomist to find which species are doing well in your region.
Also, knowing the potential enemies, insects and diseases, of those species would save you the trouble. Employing seed treatment is effective against insect attacks. For ryegrass and fescue pastures, using seed with endophyte protects against insect attack.
Using Nitrogen in Autumn
Nitrogen has a good profile as a fertilizer. It is cost-effective and increases pasture growth. If you need extra feed, Nitrogen is your answer. Know that nitrogen will boost the growth of growing pasture. Do not apply nitrogen to moisture-stressed and dormant pasture.
- Nitrogen can be applied after more than 25mm rainfall before soil temperature drops significantly.
- Temperate pastures, like ryegrass pastures, will respond well to nitrogen when the soil temperature is above 4 C.
- Subtropical pastures, like Kikuyu, will respond well to nitrogen when the soil temperature is above 10 C.
Nitrogen is applied at a rate of 20-50 kg/ha.
Check the green cover of pasture at the end of dry summer. Less dense pastures with lower productivity will respond well to pasture renovation. Autumn is the perfect time to replenish perennial pastures via reseeding, oversowing or complete cultivation.
If 30-50 per cent area does not have a green cover, consider renovation. The renovation will increase the quality of feed and lead to an increase of 8% in milk production in dairy cows.
An early autumn break is the best time to renovate the pasture. In the case of a late autumn break, using short term crops to grow feed for the winter is better, leaving renovation for spring.
Pasture management across the autumn break will have a great impact on feed availability over the winter. Autumn is the time to plan and update feed budgets. A good plan will ensure cows are in an appropriate condition in winter.
This brings us to the end of this article. Until we meet again, Happy Autumn!
- The Dedicated Team of Pasture.io, 22 March 2022