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Quality Grass For Sheep

All UK sheep farmers have one thing in common, the need to produce grass to eat all year round - in spring and summer by grazing livestock and in winter as silage. In sheep and lamb production where margins are incredibly tight, high quality grass can be the key to profitability, so keeping a constant supply in front of livestock makes sound financial sense.


The Need To Reseed

A reseeding rate of just 10% is enough to prevent a decline in grass productivity while upping it to 15% will start to deliver real gains. Fields that are not reseeded will quickly become overrun with weed species with little or no nutritional value. Not only does grass yield decline as weed species take over, digestibility, feed value and animal performance will also diminish.

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Sown species decline every yearSown species decline every year
Features of Mole Valley Farmers Premier Leys Cost Benefits
Only recommended grass and clover listed varieties used Up to 15% higher yielding than inferior non listed varieties
Well balanced mixtures expertly designed by UK leading grass businesses for all on farm requirements 1st year yields will be 25% more than five year old leys and up to 100% higher yields than poor worn out old grass land
High inclusion of top performing perennial ryegrasses in the mixture Perennial ryegrass is 100% responsive to nitrogen Annual meadow grass only 17% responsive to nitrogen
Mixtures comprise of similar heading date varieties Consistent high yields of high quality grazing and silage
High sugar / energy grasses are included Maximises production from grass
Varieties chosen for disease resistance,
persistence and durability
More reliable fields to maximise profitability from grass

Reducing the cost of production can help make a significant improvement to your profitability. Grazed grass has always been recognised as one the most economical ways to feed livestock but there are also some great forage crop options to help supplement feeding.

Introducing a forage crop is very easy and can bring some real benefits:

  • Help reduce your production costs.
  • By selecting the correct crops and varieties, livestock farmers can maximise their home grown feed and enhance profitability.
  • Low input costs per acre.
  • Versatile – they can be used to fill summer grazing gaps, extend autumn grazing or
    support out wintering systems.
  • Excellent break crop between grass, reducing weed and pest issues prior to reseeding to a more productive new ley.
  • Mixed forage diets help increase intakes and ensure optimum rumen stability, improved feed utilisation and animal performance.

 

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sheep in fieldsheep in field
Crop Average sowing rate
kg/acre
Sowing date guide Utilisation period Average fresh yield
tonnes/ha
Average dry matter yield tonnes/ha Dry matter
%
Crude protein
%
D-value ME MJ/kg DM
Broadcast Direct drill
Forage
Rape
4 2.5 May-end Aug July-Dec 24-35 3.5-4 11-12 19-20 65D 10-11
Kale 3 1.5-2 April-early
July
Sept-Mar 60-65 8-10 14-16 16-17 68D 10-11
Stubble
Turnips
3 2 Mid April
end Aug
June-Dec 38-45 3.5-5 8-9 17-18 68-70D 11
Swedes 2 1 April-June Oct-Mar 70-90 7-10 10-13 10-11 82D 12.8-13.1
Main Crop
Turnip
2 1- 1.5 May-July Oct-Feb 60-70 5.5-6 8-10 15-17 80D 10-11
Forage Rye 75 75 Sept-Oct Feb
onwards
20-24 5-6 25 11-12 67D 10

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