Grass Challenge for Spring 2016

We are coming out of one of the wettest winters for

We are coming out of one of the wettest winters for some time with on average 200% more rainfall than the long term average. That coupled with mild winter temperatures meant grazing platforms had significant grass cover in early spring. In some parts of the country where cows have been turned out, significant poaching is the order of the day on some farms. Damaging grazing paddocks in early spring will reduce the potential yield from these fields through the coming rotations. With the national heard number set to increase and milk production to continue on an upward trend farmers are reluctant to take a paddock out for reseeding. Overseeding has always been an economical way to improve both the perennial ryegrass content and tetraploids content of swards, where reseeding is not fully warranted. Overseeding is an excellent way to improve grassland that may have been damaged by poaching, has gone thin, but still perennial ryegrass dominated.

Overseeding will not solve problems such as invasive weeds or wild grasses likes annual meadow grass, scutch or bentgrass. The greatest difficulty with overseeding is trying to establish new grass seedlings in an already competitive sward. DLF have come up with a novel way of aiding this process with Nitrogen coated grass seeds called Pronitro. The Nitrogen seed dressing will feed only the planted seeds and not the existing grass or weeds, allowing the newly planted seeds to establish fast.

Initial trials are showing treated seeds to produce 200% more fresh weight than untreated seed three weeks after sowing. Overseeding is already an economical way to improve grassland; Teagasc estimate the cost of reseeding at €280/acre (€700/ha), whereas overseeding can be carried out for less than €100/acre.

Pronitro offers better seed to soil contact through larger seeds (coated), allowing for higher germination, seedling survival rates and targeted nitrogen for the emerging seedlings. Although overseeding is already a sensible and cost effective way to improve grass yields and quality for grazing and silage swards, using pronitro coated seed will allow for faster establishment and better seedling survival rates.

More information on Pronitro treated seeds can be obtained from Paul Flanagan on


Paul Flanagan, Bsc., DLF Ireland, Ballymountain, Ferrybank, Waterford

Tel: 051 897060

For more information please contact Ellenor Mc Donnell on

Tel: 051 897689