It’s hard to know what the weather will bring this autumn. But if it turns dry on your farm, having seed in the ground early, ready to germinate when rain does come, can be a good move.
There are two advantages with this approach. The first is higher pasture yield, as seed will be up and growing much sooner than if you wait for rain before sowing.
The second is logistics. If you use a contractor they are usually easily available while it’s dry, but once the rain starts it’s often a different story!
Pasture seed sits comfortably in the soil, with no loss of germination or endophyte, for up to 6 weeks in autumn.
We showed this in a trial using Trojan perennial ryegrass with NEA2 endophyte on a dark peat soil, chosen deliberately for high autumn temperatures.
Visit www.grassland.org.nz for the full story: ‘The effect of perennial ryegrass sowing date on endophyte presence and dry matter yield’ 2015.
Do not sow in the dry before 1 March in warmer areas of the upper North Island, or before 15 February in higher altitude or cooler regions.