Oversowing revives old pastures

If you have gone through a dry summer, and have continuously grazed with stock, you may find that once the autumn rains come your pastures have lost some density.

If there is between 50- 70% plant density you could consider reinvigorating an old pasture by oversowing it. However, if the pasture density is below 50% it is recommended to do a full pasture renovation.

Oversowing works best when there is a good autumn break. The soil temperatures are still optimal during this time which will allow quick establishment of newly sown seedlings. Sowing too late can be detrimental, as the soil temperatures will drop too low. This will leave the young seedlings to be out competed by older plants.

Choosing a suitable species will help with the success of the oversow. It is recommended to use a short-term ryegrass, like Amass, as they are fast out of the ground and can last 2-3 years in favourable conditions. Oversowing with a perennial ryegrass can be risky due to its slow establishment, but suitable when there is an early break. If you require quick, bulk feed then an annual, like Ezigraze oats or Buster Annual Ryegrass, will be a suitable option. However, both will need to be resown each year.  

The sowing rate for oversowing is usually 50-60% of your normal sowing rate.  This is because these plants are filling gaps within the pasture and the already established plants will create the rest of the early feed.

Wait for 1-2 inches of rain before you oversow and when soil temperatures are greater than 10°C.  Graze heavily with livestock before oversowing and sow at a depth of 10-15mm. If the seedlings germinate, but are struggling to get established, you can graze the older plants again before the seedlings reach 1 inch in height.

Monitor seedlings for pests and ask your local Valley Seeds agronomist if spraying is needed.

Perform a pull test to determine when to let stock in. If the plants remain anchored in the ground whilst you pinch and pull the leaves off, then the paddock is ready to be grazed. An early grazing can also encourage tillering within the new plants.