Northeast Scotland farmer Neil Fettes is looking forward to a second year of full productivity from his fields in spite of this year’s challenging growing conditions after using Barenbrug forage grass seed.
Neil Fettes’ ewes and lambs grazing a ley sown with Barenbrug’s Highlander mixture in June.
Pictured here are Agrovista agronomy adviser Neil’s ewes and lambs grazing on a field sown with Highlander multipurpose long-term ley earlier this June. Commenting on the mixture, which was sown in September 2011, Neil says: “The Highlander provided excellent establishment and plentiful grass for our April lambing-ewes stocked at six ewes plus lambs per acre.”
With April’s unseasonably bad weather, Neil was stunned that his field was one of few in the region to not only survive, but thrive, in the “appalling” conditions. “The snow, rain and low temperatures reduced grass growth just as it was needed at lambing time,” he continues. “But in a spring where grass growth was extremely limited, we had grass when most other fields stopped growing. Obviously getting new grass in there helped, but I believe the Moyola and Kilrea early perennial ryegrasses made all the difference. The ley has since supported sheep and cattle throughout the season.”
Given the success of the Highlander, Neil also made the decision to reseed another field with Barenbrug’s Cut & Graze long-term ley with clover this August instead of undersowing spring barley, which he’d normally do. This will be cut for first-cut silage in June next year.
“I wouldn’t usually sow a mixture like Cut & Graze at this time of year, but this seems like the better choice and will bring full production benefits with the lambs grazing it through winter,” he explains. “It is now more important than ever to get the best establishment and longevity out of the grass. By sowing in August, the Cut & Graze also reduced weed pressure during establishment and will provide some valuable sheep grazing over winter.”
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