Countryside Seeds Ltd

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PROTECTOR Forage Rye - Available very soon.

PROTECTOR is the fastest growing rye variety available, it even grows at low temperatures when other varieties stop growing.

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Helps provide protection against soil erosion because of soil coverage and rapid plant development in autumn.

Constantly high uptake of nitrogen during the autumn period. Fertiliser can be applied in early spring but should kept at a moderate level.

Dry matter yield of PROTECTOR is higher than that of other similar varieties (and is similar to hybrid rye) at time of cutting in early May.

PROTECTOR is a useful cover crop option before silage maize.

This makes PROTECTOR a commercially valuable choice.

PROTECTOR is an excellent supplier of biomass due to its good time:eek:utput ratio.

Harvest tip: Wilt PROTECTOR to a dry matter content of more than 18 % to prevent unwanted effluent.


  • Vigorous initial development
  • Suitable for late sowing
  • Excellent winter hardiness
  • Growing even at low temperature levels
  • High tillering
  • Early harvest
  • Provides highest yields in total dry matter
Please contact for prices.
 

Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Humbolt forage rye provides an early spring feed.

Humbolt Forage Rye is a UK Bred forage variety producing excellent early spring growth, which can be used for an early turnout for cows or an early graze for sheep.

Strengths:
UK proven
Good early spring growth
Winter hardy
Flexible sowing options after cereals or maize
Filling the hungry gap period

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Great In Grass

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Cornwall.
Grass & Forage for Drought Prone Areas

Tips and solutions for growing grass or forage crops in drought prone soil or regions in the UK

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The UK is well known for a vast range of climatic and growing conditions with annual rainfall figures ranging from over 4000mm to less than 400mm. When it comes to precipitation, a large proportion of the country receives ample rainfall; however the increased frequency of dry periods over the past few years has brought drought stress across a wider area than just the low rainfall southerly and eastern regions. Drought stress is also exacerbated by very light soil types which can be found in many areas, not just low rainfall ones.

Whilst no grass or forage crop can grow in the UK without water, there are a number of crop management actions that can be taken to aid grass health and productivity as well as species and mixtures which are designed to be tolerant of more extreme conditions and should be considered when reseeding.

1. Keep soils in a high health status. Like livestock, healthier soils are more resilient meaning grass and forage crops can recover from stress more quickly. Feed the soil to correct any deficiencies and account for crop offtake. A pH of over 6 is crucial.

2. Keep the desired grass species present by improving management to aid persistence or reseeding more frequently. Sown species are higher in feed value and have improved nutrient efficiency than weeds and weed grasses. Sown species can also recover more quickly from stress.

3. Paddock or rotational grazing systems will achieve more grass utilisation than set stocking. Less grass is wasted.

4. When grazing or cutting, it is essential to leave a decent residual of at least 10cm in drought conditions. This allows the plants to photosynthesize and recover more quickly and prevents more serious depletion of root reserves which can affect overall sward longevity. A longer stubble can also help by shading the ground and reducing air movement to further reduce soil moisture evaporation.

5. Consider buffer feeding with silage/hay if the grazing platform is pushed too far.

6. Reduce grass demand by selling cull ewes and cows sooner than later. If an opportunity arises for an early draft of store or fat animals, consider this too.

Species to consider when reseeding in a drought prone soil or region

Grasses


This species is extensively rooted, capable of putting down roots more than 3 times as long as perennial ryegrass if soils permit and gives benefits to soil structure and increased resilience to both drought and waterlogging. The deep roots will draw moisture and nutrients from lower down in the soil profile making them more nutrient efficient and they are also more productive than ryegrasses under low N management systems. The selection and breeding of tall fescue has also brought about a large improvement in nutritive value and a much higher fibre digestibility making it extremely palatable and nutritious.

Tall fescue is a very flexible species and can be used under any medium to long term cutting and grazing management system for dairy, beef or sheep.

Cocksfoot is another well-known drought tolerant species. Better suited to grazing, and particularly with sheep, especially in spring, cocksfoot can form tussocks and lose quality if it is allowed to get very mature. As with the Tall Fescues, intensive work has gone into breeding and selecting varieties which are quicker to establish and higher in feed value making cocksfoot an excellent choice for more and more sheep and beef farmers in the UK. The extensive root system again aids tolerance to both drought and waterlogging and allows for excellent nutrient utilisation.

Check out our mixtures:

BarForage Nutrifibre
BarForage Barmix

Legumes
Artèmis Lucerne is an ideal protein crop, for drought prone areas. This species thrives in free draining land with the ability to produce yields of 14t DM/ha over 3 – 4 cuts and persist for 4 – 5 years where well managed.

Red clover should also be considered as a grass crop component in droughty areas. Originally a biennial, modern varieties of red clover will persist for 4 – 5 years where well managed.

Both species have deep tap roots and are grown from a single crown. Care should be taken not to cut silage crops below 10cm or to over graze in winter, particularly in wetter conditions, to avoid crown damage and therefore killing the plant. Neither species tolerate waterlogging.

Check out our mixtures:

Ensign Red
Artémis Lucerne

Other Forages
Chicory, Plantain and Yarrow are forage herbs which have the most aggressive root systems with deep tap roots making them very drought tolerant, although they do thrive on a wide range of soil types. None of the species like to be over grazed so should be managed well to maintain their presence in the sward by observing residual heights of 5cm minimum.

Check out our mixtures:

Herbal Blend (although placed in our equine section, the herb blend is suitable for grazing livestock too)

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Drought stress

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Tall fescue
 

Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
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Summer Catch Crop Trial – AHDB Strategic Cereal Farm West
Following a wet autumn and, for some, an even wetter spring many farmers were unable to successfully establish or even drill their main cereal crops. In the AHDB early bird survey back in February, there were 336,000ha of fallow land predicted, an increase of 50% on the June 2019 Defra survey. Whilst this figure is likely to have changed since then, it highlights the predicament many farmers found themselves in at the time.

Farmers with fallow land back in the spring faced three choices:
  1. Leave the land bare for the summer. Zero-cost option.
  2. Use farm-saved seed as a low-cost cover crop. Small outlay for the royalty on seed, plus establishment costs.
  3. Establish a short-term cover or catch crop using species such as oilseed radish, phacelia and mustard. A higher financial outlay required for seed compared to farm-saved seed, plus establishment costs.

We are often asked how much more do specialist cover crops offer compared with using farm-saved seed. Are they worth the investment? These are not easy questions to answer as it depends on the circumstances and what the farmer is trying to achieve, but the conditions this year, with so much fallow around, provided an ideal opportunity to explore these very questions.

In Warwickshire, one of AHDB’s Strategic Farm managers, Rob Fox, who manages Squab Hall Farm was keen to look at the benefits of a cover crop on one of his fallow fields. RAGT Seeds agreed to supply the seed for the trial and alongside ADAS and AHDB we decided to compare three different treatments: leaving one area as stubble, another area planted with farm-saved beans and barley (RGT Asteroid) and the final area sown with a mixture of oilseed radish (RGT Triangel) and phacelia (RGT Factotum).

ADAS will be looking at how various aspects of soil health change throughout the summer and how these differ between the three treatments.

More information can be found on this AHDB video:


Whilst this is only one trial on one farm, it should give us a great insight into how cover crops can benefit land by opening up the soil and allowing excess water to drain away. This in turn allows earthworms to return to the soil, helping to restore the soil structure.

As always, using cover crops to improve soil health is very much a long-term project and what works for one farm won’t necessarily be the best option for the neighbouring farm. On-farm trials like these, in partnership with organisations like ADAS and AHDB, are an invaluable way for us to ensure the advice we are giving to growers, merchants and agronomists is as accurate and helpful as possible.

For more information on soil health click here.
 

Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
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New seed mix to combat cabbage stem flea beetle
Updated: 2 days ago

Demand for RGT Beetleblocker, the novel oilseed rape/companion crop seed mixture from RAGT Seeds that aims to help reduce cabbage stem flea beetle damage, has exceeded expectations in the run-up to the drilling campaign.




Limited quantities of the mix were available to all merchants around the country and uptake has been significant, with growers keen to try a different approach to beat the beetle, according to RAGT’s Helen Wilson.

The mixture consists of new high gross output hybrid oilseed rape, RGT Blackmillion, along with two legumes, fenugreek and berseem clover.
“Fenugreek, a key ingredient in curries, appears to act as a natural repellent to cabbage stem flea beetle,” says Helen.
“In a recent independent trial in France, the mix reduced flea beetle numbers by 25% by early October and by 70% at the end of that month when sown as a companion crop.”

Berseem clover has been added to boost weed suppression, nitrogen fixing and soil conditioning.

Both fenugreek and berseem clover establish quickly and make ideal partners for RGT Blackmillion, which has impressive autumn vigour, essential to help young rape plants grow away from flea beetle pressure.






To learn more about RGT Beetleblocker, click here.
 

Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Pushing feed efficiencies.

What are the benefits of pushing up feed? What options are available to do it and how do you work out whether an automated system is worth the spend? Aly Balsom finds out.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Solutions to your reseeding challenges.

Responses to a Forager survey highlighted three common challenges farmers face when reseeding. Laura Wise finds out how to overcome these issues and how to maximise the potential of a new ley.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
How to establish brassicas.

Brassicas are a hugely versatile crop, providing grazing options from June to March, depending on the crop used. Germinal GB’s Ben Wixey provides some tips for farmers looking to establish them in the next few weeks.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
In the business of converting grass to milk.

Investing in its grazing platform has helped one GrassCheck GB dairy farm in Cumbria maximise milk from grazed forage, as Laura Wise reports.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Tackling the heavy rain hangover.

A rainy autumn followed by a wet spring has created numerous challenges for farmers. Aly Balsom finds out what needs to be done to address residual problems and what can be learnt.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Views from the farm:

Aly Balsom speaks to three farmers to find out whether the wet autumn and spring followed by a dry spell has affected them, and what they’ve learnt.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Technology aiding forage performance.

Yield monitoring technology on the forage harvester is helping one large scale, high yielding Shropshire dairy herd drive milk from homegrown feed. Luke James reports.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Finding the mature cow weight sweet spot.

Just how heavy is too heavy for a mature beef cow? Laura Wise reports on results from a recent study to answer the age-old debate.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Breaking the habit of bad bales.

Baled silage represents a huge untapped resource for dairy farmers. Forager looks to Ireland to find out how producers can optimise bale potential.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Red clover delivers dual benefits.

Growing long-lasting red clover has slashed requirement for bought-in soya and halved the amount of bagged nitrogen used on one Shetland sheep farm, as Luke James reports.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Sealing the deal.

Efficient silage sheeting is an important part of the jigsaw when it comes to making quality silage. Aly Balsom provides a refresher in how to do it.

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Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
CHEWING THE CUD.

As consumer behaviour changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the typical in-shop experience was restricted, Harry Hodgson of Piercebridge Organics near Darlington has been quick to adapt his family’s integrated farm, farm shop and café business model to meet the needs of both existing and new customers. Harry shares his story with Laura Wise.

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New ELM scheme must be flexible and have farming at its heart, says NFU

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Written by John Swire

The new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) must be flexible and have farming at its heart, the NFU said today, as the government consultation draws to a close.

The scheme is due to be rolled out in 2024, replacing the existing environmental schemes currently available under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Tom Bradshaw
Tom Bradshaw

NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said: “The consultation on the new ELMS has given us a great opportunity to get a range of views from our...
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