Making margins – is home-grown forage worth it?

As we enter into a new year and turn our minds to the spring, many of you will be looking at your grassland and deciding what, where and whether to reseed. When considering your options, the emphasis will be on just how cost-effective reseeding is and whether you will see a difference to your bottom line.

Taking the opportunity to address underperforming leys this spring will help to increase your home-grown forage production and ease some of the pressure from having to buy-in feed. The benefits of reseeding, such as improved yields and nutritional value, are becoming even more important on-farm as modern seed varieties from the Recommended Grass and Clover List for England and Wales have been bred to significantly improve grassland performance. For this reason, Wynnstay’s range of grass seed mixtures only includes varieties taken from this list to guarantee the highest quality results from your reseed.

Maximising quality grass yields using Wynnstay’s grass mixtures can result in higher Metabolisable Energy (ME) yields and cost-savings. For example, an improvement of 0.5ME in grass quality across just 1Ha of a new reseed is equivalent to approx £250 worth of concentrates which provide the extra ME. This easily covers the cost of reseeding.

Furthermore, a young ley will often outperform an older ley in terms of yield and, when costed out fully, the difference of 3T/DM/Ha improvement in yield will pay for a reseed in one season.

There is a strong correlation between milk from forage and profitability of milk production. Studies consistently show that every 1,000 litres increase in milk from forage will be worth around £100 of gross margin per cow. Put simply, the more forage fed per cow per day, the more margin can be retained per litre of milk produced. Proactivity in terms of reseeding with quality grass seed varieties can help achieve this type of extra margin on-farm – whether for silaging or grazing.

Hefin Wilson from Cardigan is one farmer who already reaps the benefits of reseeding on his dairy unit with Wynnstay’s Sovereign grass seed mixture;

“We’ve reseeded with Sovereign for a number of years, as it producers a dry silage with high ME values that’s good for our herd productivity. As we feed silage in a TMR all year round, we also require a number of cuts, which Sovereign allows us to do. We’ll continue to use the mix in our rotation and are planning to reseed another 25 acres this year.”

If you would like some more advice on reseeding or grass seed mixtures, please call 01939 210777.

Or click here to find your local Arable & Forage Specialist.

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