Pamper baby pasture for a big pay-off

Anyone can sow and grow an average pasture. But for new grass to make your neighbours green with envy, you need to go just a little further.


That’s the advice from our agronomist Gemma Hansen as farmers across the upper North Island prepare to establish millions of new grass, clover and herb seedlings.


Tender loving care at this early stage works wonders when it comes to lifetime pasture growth and longevity, she says. You’ll be happier, and so will your animals.

“Seed sown this autumn holds the power to fuel your business for years to come,” says Gemma, who is based in the Waikato.  


“It’s packed with genetic potential, ready to deliver hundreds of tonnes of cost effective, renewable, home grown feed, season after season.”


The only way it can do this is with your help. The good news? You don’t have to do much, and the payback is generous.


Right now, weeds are ready to take a big bite out of your new pasture’s future performance. They’re fast, super-competitive and hungry for space, sunlight, nutrients and moisture.


“They’re also stealthy! Especially from the seat of a farm bike zooming past the paddock,” Gemma points out. So always monitor newly sown pastures for weeds very closely.


The sooner you spot any invaders, the faster you can get rid of them, allowing baby grass, clover and any herbs to flourish.


Once they have their little roots firmly in the ground, grass seedlings in particular need to be grazed. Not too heavily – just enough to take the tips off. This tells the young plant to make more tillers, and you need lots of tillers for thick, healthy pastures. 


A light nip at the right time saves clovers and herbs from being shaded to an early death, too. They’re slower to establish than ryegrass.


Finally, Gemma adds, remember new pasture isn’t always yet equipped to source enough nitrogen from the soil to help it re-grow after grazing. Ryegrass roots are too small, and clover hasn’t started fixing nitrogen from the air.


“A light snack of nitrogen (30 kg/ha, for example), if needed, will give new pasture enough energy to keep growing after grazing.”


We’re always here to help; book your free personal Pasture Health Check today.