Cocksfoot ley (thinking out loud again)

beardface

Member
Location
East Yorkshire
So with fert and chem prices where they are I've been thinking of alternative short term leys as an alternative to spring cropping.

Thinking a 2 year ley sown by latest mid September. FYM after wheats off, cultivate, leave a couple weeks spray off then seed.

Mix would be

Cocksfoot
Meadow fescue or festulolium
White clover (small and medium leaf)
Possibly plantain too

Would let it establish over autumn early winter then light graze in Feb to hold the cocksfoot back a bit. Would move fresh Lambed twin ewes onto it beginning of April then rotational graze hard right through to back end again. Rest it over winter with occasional grazing to hold cocksfoot back a bit then same again following year. Spray off August and in with autumn crop.

Benefits are OM build up from cocksfoot rooting. Bit of N build up from clover. Clean grazing for sheep, with drought risk reduced. Plus potentially a better gross margin and similar weed control to a double spring break.

Thoughts?
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
So with fert and chem prices where they are I've been thinking of alternative short term leys as an alternative to spring cropping.

Thinking a 2 year ley sown by latest mid September. FYM after wheats off, cultivate, leave a couple weeks spray off then seed.

Mix would be

Cocksfoot
Meadow fescue or festulolium
White clover (small and medium leaf)
Possibly plantain too

Would let it establish over autumn early winter then light graze in Feb to hold the cocksfoot back a bit. Would move fresh Lambed twin ewes onto it beginning of April then rotational graze hard right through to back end again. Rest it over winter with occasional grazing to hold cocksfoot back a bit then same again following year. Spray off August and in with autumn crop.

Benefits are OM build up from cocksfoot rooting. Bit of N build up from clover. Clean grazing for sheep, with drought risk reduced. Plus potentially a better gross margin and similar weed control to a double spring break.

Thoughts?

I put some Barmix in in Autumn 2020 and very pleased with how much it produced this year.
That has fescues and the newer ‘non-clumping’ Cocksfoot varieties, as well as clover. Maybe Chuck some plantains & RC in that if you want to go all herbal & trendy?


@Great In Grass
 

Jerry

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Devon
I put some Barmix in in Autumn 2020 and very pleased with how much it produced this year.
That has fescues and the newer ‘non-clumping’ Cocksfoot varieties, as well as clover. Maybe Chuck some plantains & RC in that if you want to go all herbal & trendy?


@Great In Grass

good to hear. Barmix went in last autumn to reseed a very old ley after a fodder rape brake. .
 

Agrivator

Member
Cocksfoot and Timothy have their growing points in the base of the stem, and continuous hard grazing will exhaust them. That's why they flourish under a lax cutting or lax grazing regime.
Perennial Ryegrass has its growing point much lower - sometimes below ground level - and is a much more persistent grass under intensive grazing.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Cocksfoot and Timothy have their growing points in the base of the stem, and continuous hard grazing will exhaust them. That's why they flourish under a lax cutting or lax grazing regime.
Perennial Ryegrass has its growing point much lower - sometimes below ground level - and is a much more persistent grass under intensive grazing.

They will all flourish better if they are given adequate resting periods to rebuild reserves. Intensive grazing undersea stocked conditions will remove just about all productive species.
 
I put some Barmix in in Autumn 2020 and very pleased with how much it produced this year.
That has fescues and the newer ‘non-clumping’ Cocksfoot varieties, as well as clover. Maybe Chuck some plantains & RC in that if you want to go all herbal & trendy?


@Great In Grass
Dont let that mix get too strong
It will hit 4ft tall like bamboo
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
another thing with cosckfoot i find is that it will put on a ' grow show ' even in the cooler darker times like this time of year.
Our stock dont actively select it nor eat it tight unless fairly well forced ....but thats good if your prone to overgrazing like i do sometimes, as it (the cocksfoot} leaves good cover always whatever.

its a tough plant ,tougher than puny prg that's for sure and yes higher DM (if they get to use it :unsure: )

anyway it generally sounds like a good idea.
 

Azlett

Member
Location
Taunton
We found that in a set stock regime, both sheep and cattle would graze out everything except the cocksfoot.

Then we re-jigged to hard rotational grazing - 24 hours with a minimum 30 day rest. They'd eat everything on the first couple of rotations and the cocksfoot was excellent for re-growth, moisture retention and cover for other grasses. We were able to keep the rotation going easily throughout the dry summer of 2020, for example. By the end of the season, the cocksfoot does become a bit clumpy in dung areas where they refuse to graze. But by the start of the following season, it's all good to graze to 'nothing' again.

In 2 years, our measure of electric stake 'pushability' was transformed. So I think your plan sounds like a great 2yr break.

Anne-Z

(We also rate meadow fescue as good partner.)
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
lot depends on soil type, we dry out, and have been using cocksfoot, fesques tim etc, simply because they are deeper rooted. Rye grass tends to be shallower rooted, and dies off earlier.
Modern c/foots, are meant to be more palatable, and by controlled grazing, or mob grazing, and a good rest period, are much better, than traditionally thought. Herbs and clovers, are a must !
 
I've been using some cocksfoot for about 10 years now, it's tough in droughts.
I started out using it on sand that's used for outwintering cows on, land is subsoiled and cocksfoot sown with the one pass, and grazed for the summer and let grow all autumn and strip grazed in winter.

I use it in most mixes now as it keeps soil open due to being deep rooted, it isn't bad to control if its kept tight early in the season and it will build up into a good bulk in the autumn to suit deferred grazing.
 

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