Outline of the Trials
With the help of students at Oatridge a series of short term grass seed mixtures have been sown, with the aim of producing bulky silage crops to supply winter forage for livestock. Other fields have been renovated by oversowing existing pastures. The work has been carried out in conjunction with Watsons Seeds.
The first of the projects involves three seven acre blocks of a 3-4 year seed mixture, designed to provide high yields of high quality silage with grazing to finish lambs in the autumn. Two blocks have red clover in the mix to raise protein levels, one of which includes Aber Claret red clover which has increased persistence.
Secondly a seven acre field has been sown with three “one year wonder” mixtures designed to give very high yields of silage for just one year. The 3 mixtures include; 100% Westerwold Ryegrass; a 75% Westerwold and 25% annual clover blend and finally a 35% Westerwold, 40% Italian Ryegrass and 25% annual clover blend.
The third project is comparing two methods of renewing worn out swards with bare patches by overseeding. They tested what can be achieved using a spring tine cultivator with a pneumatic seeder attached and also a disc coulter - Agriseeder machine. One field is sown with a shorter term mix for silage and grazing while a second field has a longer term grazing mixture, with a small area of each field left undone for comparative purposes.
The oversown fields have been monitored by cutting ungrazed plots every three weeks and monitoring for yield and Dry Matter%. To date this season has seen yields averaging 4,500 kg DM/ha with very high grass growth of over 90KgDM/ha/day in June and around half of this in July.
Those attending the farm walk learned that both the short term ley pastures and the fields sown in May with red clover were harvested in early-mid July. Once all silage cuts have been taken from these fields the yield data will be updated and made available. Initial results from the first cuts can be found on the next page.
SRUC acknowledges the support for this project given by the Scottish
Government funding as part of the Success Through Knowledge campaign.