Countryside Seeds Ltd

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Did you know that more homegrown protein can have a positive impact on feed cost?
Decreasing bought-in protein with a correspondingly increased amount of homegrown protein will help you to become more self-sufficient and reduce the reliance on and cost of bought-in protein.

The case for homegrown protein

Homegrown protein will offer you an important economic benefit and is a green solution:

  • Self-sufficiency at farm level with less dependency on fluctuating world market prices for concentrates
  • Positive environmental and climatic impact with carbon sequestration, improved soil structure, nitrogen fixation and biodiversity
The main tools to improve protein independence
When you want to increase the ratio of homegrown protein to be more self-sufficient there are things to be considered:

  • Forages species and mixture composition
    The first consideration is the choice of species. In grassland the share of e.g. alfalfa and clover can be increased to improve the protein content
  • Grassland management
    Cutting or grazing at the optimal stages of plant development is essential for maximizing outcome of energy and protein.
  • Improving the protein and energy contribution of grasses
    Grasses with increased fiber digestibility, lead to an increased amount of energy per kg dry matter. A higher intake results in higher animal output and better earnings; we call it DLF Fiber Energy.
Are clover-grass and alfalfa sustainable solutions?
Yes, legumes in your sward will for two reasons be an on-farm sustainable solution:

  1. Legumes are providing locally grown protein, limiting the import of protein and emissions from transport of overseas substitutes
  2. Legumes fixate nitrogen from the air, reducing the need for fertilising the soil. That has a positive climatic impact since production of nitrogen fertiliser is highly energy consuming.
With legumes you also gain better soil structure and create better diversity in your field. Read more about the benefits of clover in legumes in sustainable farming here.
 

Great In Grass

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Grass can be a very useful crop to follow maize or cereals later in the year, providing soil stability and mopping up nutrients, as well as an overwintering feed source for any class of sheep or an early silage crop in the following spring.

After Maize and Autumn Catch Crop Options
As Maize harvest progresses in the UK, thoughts turn to post maize and post cereal field management. Maize harvests, particularly in the north or in times of very inclement weather, can be very late in the year leaving little opportunity to establish another crop.

As was widespread in 2019, a major problem with a late harvest seasons are that bare fields are at a much higher risk of soil erosion and nutrient leaching, with rainwater run-off also taking topsoil and nutrients away with it which can often ends up in drains and watercourses. As land managers, it is best practise to mitigate and reduce the risk of this wherever possible. It is our belief that the requirement within agriculture to reduce environmental pollution and soil degradation will only get more prevalent and carbon capture, or mitigating carbon losses, will also become a criterion.

Grass can be a very useful crop to follow maize or cereals later in the year because of its flexibility. Grass swards can simply provide a catch crop for soil stability and mopping up nutrients, an overwintering feed source for any class of sheep or an early silage crop in the following spring.

Dependant on the region of the UK, some environmental schemes exist where payments are available to growers establishing post maize or cereal crops and managing them as set out with the guidance on the individual scheme. Contact your local agricultural advisor for schemes relevant to your enterprise and location.

What could I establish?

Italian Ryegrasses are an excellent option for later sowing as they germinate down to 4OC soil temperature, lower than perennial grass species and legumes, meaning you have an increased chance of success of a good establishment later in the season. They will establish quickly under good soil and environmental conditions.

Short term grass is flexible enough to simply plough in after a few months, graze, cut for silage or zero grazing. Italian ryegrasses will give up to 20% more yield than perennial ryegrasses. After ploughing in, Italian ryegrass will steadily release the nitrates it has mopped up from the soil, back to the subsequent crop.

Barenbrug’s High D Italian is a mixture of Italian rye grass diploid and tetraploid species, which includes the high ranking Barmultra II variety listed on the RGCL 2020/2021, so you can be assured of the reliability. Having a blend of diploids and tetraploids improves the ground cover and tillering capacity of the sward over a straight tetraploid, which improves its performance in all scenarios after a late sowing. High D Italian is supplied in 14kg packs and can produce 20% more grass than perennial ryegrass.

Aftermaize is an option for those looking for 1 – 2 years’ worth of productivity. The mixture contains 50% Italian ryegrass as well as hybrid ryegrass and a small percentage of perennial ryegrass. Ideally, this mixture should be established before soils are below 7OC to allow best establishment of the perennial ryegrasses. Aftermaize will provide a short-term grass break crop of up to 2 years for silage production with the option to graze in the autumn and winter.

How much should I sow?

The intended use of the sward will influence the sowing rate of whatever grass option you choose. If going for a catch crop to hold soil and capture nutrients or even graze a limited amount of store lambs in autumn, then sowing around 10kg/acre (25kg/ha) would suffice. If there are a lot of sheep to feed throughout the whole winter or the aim is to achieve an early silage cut in spring 2021 then sowing at 12.5kg/acre (32kg/ha) is advisable. In the instance of wishing to retain the crop for a full two seasons, or where soil and growing conditions are less favourable, the sowing rate could be increased again to 14kg/acre (35kg/ha) for optimal persistence.
 

Great In Grass

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Barenbrug and Simplot enter into an agreement for the sale of the Jacklin® Seed business
18 September, 2020 - The Royal Barenbrug Group and the J.R. Simplot Company today announce that they have agreed on terms for the sale of the Jacklin® Seed business to Barenbrug USA. The transaction is expected to close in the next few weeks, subject to standard closing conditions. Both Simplot and Barenbrug are privately held, family-owned companies with storied legacies in agriculture and expect a smooth transition that will benefit Jacklin® Seed employees and both companies.


Barenbrug and Simplot enter into agreement
The combination of Jacklin® Seed’s deep portfolio with Barenbrug’s vision, R&D, and industry leading market development will provide a strong value to turf growers and distributors across the world.

“We warmly welcome Jacklin® Seed’s employees, growers, and customers to our global Barenbrug family,” said John Thijssen, Member Board of Directors, Barenbrug Group. “Their high-quality and wide-ranging seed experience will further strengthen and grow our position as a leading global grass seed supplier. By combining our skills and expertise, we’ll supply a greater range of premium grasses to our customers and create value for all our stakeholders worldwide.”

“We are pleased to partner with Barenbrug in this transaction,” said G. Rey Reinhardt, Simplot AgriBusiness division. “We believe that their ideals and goals as a generational, family-run organization align with ours and that the Jacklin® Seed employees will have a smooth transition into the Barenbrug organization.”

More information will follow after closing.







About Royal Barenbrug Group
Headquartered in the Netherlands, and with a 115-year history, Barenbrug is a fourth-generation, family-owned company dedicated to the research, development and production of grass seeds & legumes for agricultural and recreational markets. With over 800 employees, in more than 20 countries on six continents in all major climate regions, our mission is to increase animal productivity to help feed the world and enhance the enjoyment of green spaces. Together, our operating companies deliver annual net sales above €260 million. More information can be found at www.barenbrug.com.




About Simplot
The J.R. Simplot Company, a privately held agribusiness firm headquartered in Boise, Idaho, has an integrated portfolio that includes phosphate mining, fertilizer manufacturing, farming, ranching and cattle production, food processing, food brands, and other enterprises related to agriculture. Simplot’s major operations are located in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, South America and China, with products marketed in more than 60 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.simplot.com.
 

Great In Grass

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Bespoke DLF Wildflower mix brightens the landscape for HFN
A wildflower meadow at the heart of a brand-new retirement village in Alcester has been praised for its outstanding, long-lasting visual impact. For the contractors, HFN Landscapes, the project was fraught with challenges – difficult ground conditions and high magnesium soil required a bespoke mixture, created by DLF Seeds.


When Contracts Manager David Smith commenced work on the Great Alne Park project in February, he was greeted by what could only be described as a 20,000 square metre mud bath! “Phase one, the construction of the homes was complete, when we then came in to carry out the soft landscaping – this included allotments, a croquet lawn, the individual apartment gardens as well as a large wildflower area which was the centrepiece of the whole complex” explains David, who has been in charge of HFN’s soft-landscaping projects for two years.

“We used ProMaster 25 in a lot of the transition areas on the site, then when it came to the Wildflower meadow, we provided the architects’ specification alongside the soil analysis to Paul Hadley at DLF”. DLF produce a range of native wild flower mixtures to suit different soil types, however high magnesium was identified, which can contribute to deterioration of clay soil structures, reducing infiltration rates and causing an environment not conducive for effective germination. With this in mind, Paul formulated a bespoke wildflower mixture including species that can tolerate a mixture of environmental conditions such as Knapweeds and Buttercups, together with a number of indicator species including Wild Marjoram, more akin to alkali soils. To deliver an initial boost of colour in the meadow’s nursery year, a selection of Cornfield Annuals were also incorporated.
“There is no doubt that Paul’s knowledge gave us a mixture that not only met the architects vision, but exceeded what we hoped to achieve in its impact and longevity; especially given the fluctuating hot and wet weather conditions and the added complications that COVID restrictions have had on our work.”
The outstanding floral display has since attracted much attention, including on Central News where residents complimented the space as a haven during the lockdown period. “Six months since we seeded the area and it’s still a sea of colour, which couldn’t be further away from where we started!”. David concludes, “As a business, HFN are very proud of what we have achieved, but that wouldn’t have been possible without Paul’s advice and the quality wildflower mixture DLF delivered. As we increasingly get asked about recreating wildflower and meadow style areas, we know we have the support and product to deliver.”
 

Great In Grass

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Location
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That's some seed!

Full-year Financial Report 2019/20
Today, the DLF Board of Directors approved the Financial Report for 2019/20


In a comment to the full year 2019/20 financial results and FY 2020/21 forecast, Mr. Truels Damsgaard, CEO, DLF Seeds AmbA said:
“The big test for us in FY 2019/20 was the amalgamation of PGW Seeds and DLF Seeds. I dare say that in concerted efforts the integration went well. 40 pct. growth in revenue and 50 pct. growth in EBITDA tells a story in its own right. PGW Seeds complements nicely our European and North American businesses that also put up strong performances in FY 2019/20.
The South American activities have undergone quite a few structural changes in order to create a more robust foundation under the business. We are still following our plan to make the business less complex and more focused. This plan includes the implementation of the DLF Group ERP system which is planned to be rolled out in Oceania as well. It will then be used throughout the DLF Seeds group.
Looking into FY 2020/21, Covid-19 is the elephant in the room. Under regular circumstances, I would have expressed some optimism as the forage and turf seed markets are generally healthy. With Covid-19, potential external impacts to our businesses are not easy to predict. We have taken certain cost measures to try to cushion our bottom line and hope this will prove sufficient to deliver a satisfactory result. We have forecasted cautiously, but it is hard to get a firm grip on the macro environment these days.”

Financial highlights of the DLF Seeds Group for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020:
  • Revenue: DKK 7,437 mill. (DKK 5,294 mill.)
  • EBITDA: DKK 599.0 mill. (DKK 403.6 mill.)
    EBIT: DKK 422.7 mill. (DKK 290.5 mill.)
    Profit before tax: DKK 343.5 mill. (DKK 249.2 mill.)
    Profit after tax: DKK 243.7 mill. (DKK 175.7 mill.)
 

Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
Managing maize ground to protect soil

There’s no doubt maize is a staple for many farms – a reliable, high-energy and high yielding forage that is relatively easy to grow. But one of the big challenges around forage maize remains the potential for soil erosion over the winter.

Not only does this risk damage to the environment, particularly from nutrient leaching, but soil is a precious resource, and having top-soil and nutrients washing away from your fields is not good for the long-term productivity of your farm.
With maize harvest underway across the UK, we explore what you can do to minimise soil erosion on your maize land this winter.

Harvesting approach
At this stage, maize harvest date is largely out of your control. While in some areas of the UK this year’s weather has helped maize mature earlier than normal, this is not the case everywhere and even that is no guarantee harvest can be completed in dry conditions.

But there are some practical measures you can take to reduce soil damage and erosion, even if you end up harvesting in wet conditions.

“Within safety parameters, try lowering tyre pressures on harvesting machinery and on tractors and trailers used for carting,” suggests Ben Wixey of Germinal GB. “This reduces ground pressure and improves grip, potentially reducing ground damage, particularly around gateways. By avoiding the creation of deep ruts, water is less likely to be channelled towards gateways, reducing the risk of run-off.”

Ben also recommends that, where possible, the harvester should be encouraged to drive across slopes rather than up and down them for the same reason – as any ruts will then follow the contours of the land rather than funnel water downhill, reducing the risk of erosion.

Once harvest is completed, Ben advises the stubble is cultivated to break up any soil pan and remove wheeling from machinery.

“Disrupting the surface with a cultivator improves drainage over the winter and reduces the risk of soil erosion,” he explained. But it’s a bare minimum and only a last resort only if harvest is late, reckons Ben. “Ideally a cover crop should be established, which not only stabilises the soil but also adds organic matter and may even provide some forage for the spring.”

In terms of crop choice, it depends how you organise your crop rotation, what the land is being used for next, and what your herbicide strategy has been on the maize crop.

If maize is harvested early enough, which is possible this year, particularly in the South, then perennial grasses and hybrids can still be established, as soils will still be warm enough to allow decent germination and establishment.

Thinking ahead
While time is not on your side if you have don’t already have plans in place for cover cropping this winter, it is also important to think ahead for future years, Ben says.
“Establishing winter cover crops certainly helps, but under-sowing maize avoids the vagaries of autumn weather conditions and provides instant soil protection once maize is harvested,” he explained.
“Cover crops are generally sown once maize is established to avoid competition in the early stages of maize establishment. This is typically at the six to eight leaf stage or when the maize is around 12”/30cm in height. While the grass can be drilled or broadcast, either directly or harrowed, drilling has been found to be far more successful. Inter-row drills allow cover crops, such as grass, to be sown effectively, giving accurate seed to soil contact for germination.”

While under-sowing undoubtedly adds cost to the maize crop, it does mean an established grass crop is present immediately after harvest. This not only improves soil retention but also offers the potential for winter and early spring grazing, helping offset the additional costs.

“Using grass as a cover crop after maize makes good sense from an agronomic point of view but can also help meet the requirements of various environmental schemes,” Ben concludes. “As such, the financial benefits can be more obvious than initially anticipated. But regardless of any potential payments, keeping soil and nutrients in your fields where they belong makes good sense.”
 

Great In Grass

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Location
Cornwall.
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CS2 Aurora
Colourful mid-height 100% annual flower mixture


This is a medium height mixture, around a half-metre tall.
Aurora is the ideal mix for soil with more organic material and nutritive mineral elements.
It contains Sunbow Zinnia and Trianon Cosmos which provide more effective and long-lasting flowering.

Technical Information


Floral Arrangement
Annuals, 5 flowers
Sow: April-May, 2g/m2
Height: 0.5m
Germination: 8-10 days in the correct climate conditions
Flowering: Mid-June to early November
Packaging: 400g metal can or 4kg bag (Also available in 30g packs suitable for retail)
Aurora contains
Polka Dot Cornflower – Centaurea Cyanus
Sunbow Zinnia – Zinnia Elegans
Pacific Beauty English Marigold – Calendula Officinalis
Eschscholzia – Eschscholzia Californica
Trianon Cosmos – Cosmos Bipinnatus


Colour Splash Brochure

 

Great In Grass

Member
Location
Cornwall.
Managing maize ground to protect soil

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There’s no doubt maize is a staple for many farms – a reliable, high-energy, and high yielding forage that is relatively easy to grow. But one of the big challenges around forage maize remains the potential for soil erosion over the winter.

Not only does this risk damage to the environment, particularly from nutrient leaching, but the soil is a precious resource, and having top-soil and nutrients washing away from your fields is not good for the long-term productivity of your farm.
With maize harvest underway across the UK, we explore what you can do to minimise soil erosion on your maize land this winter.

Harvesting approach
At this stage, maize harvest date is largely out of your control. While in some areas of the UK this year’s weather has helped maize mature earlier than normal, this is not the case everywhere and even that is no guarantee harvest can be completed in dry conditions.

But there are some practical measures you can take to reduce soil damage and erosion, even if you end up harvesting in wet conditions.
“Within safety parameters, try lowering tyre pressures on harvesting machinery and on tractors and trailers used for carting,” suggests Ben Wixey of Germinal GB. “This reduces ground pressure and improves grip, potentially reducing ground damage, particularly around gateways. By avoiding the creation of deep ruts, water is less likely to be channelled towards gateways, reducing the risk of run-off.”

Ben also recommends that, where possible, the harvester should be encouraged to drive across slopes rather than up and down them for the same reason – as any ruts will then follow the contours of the land rather than funnel water downhill, reducing the risk of erosion.

Once harvest is completed, Ben advises the stubble is cultivated to break up any soil pan and remove wheeling from machinery.
“Disrupting the surface with a cultivator improves drainage over the winter and reduces the risk of soil erosion,” he explained. But it’s a bare minimum and only a last resort only if harvest is late, reckons Ben. “Ideally a cover crop should be established, which not only stabilises the soil but also adds organic matter and may even provide some forage for the spring.”

In terms of crop choice, it depends how you organise your crop rotation, what the land is being used for next, and what your herbicide strategy has been on the maize crop.
If maize is harvested early enough, which is possible this year, particularly in the South, then perennial grasses and hybrids can still be established, as soils will still be warm enough to allow decent germination and establishment.

Thinking ahead
While time is not on your side if you have don’t already have plans in place for cover cropping this winter, it is also important to think ahead for future years, Ben says.
“Establishing winter cover crops certainly helps, but under-sowing maize avoids the vagaries of autumn weather conditions and provides instant soil protection once maize is harvested,” he explained.
“Cover crops are generally sown once maize is established to avoid competition in the early stages of maize establishment. This is typically at the six to eight leaf stage or when the maize is around 12”/30cm in height. While the grass can be drilled or broadcast, either directly or harrowed, drilling has been found to be far more successful. Inter-row drills allow cover crops, such as grass, to be sown effectively, giving accurate seed to soil contact for germination.”

While under-sowing undoubtedly adds cost to the maize crop, it does mean an established grass crop is present immediately after harvest. This not only improves soil retention but also offers the potential for winter and early spring grazing, helping offset the additional costs.

“Using grass as a cover crop after maize makes good sense from an agronomic point of view but can also help meet the requirements of various environmental schemes,” Ben concludes. “As such, the financial benefits can be more obvious than initially anticipated. But regardless of any potential payments, keeping soil and nutrients in your fields where they belong makes good sense.”
 

Great In Grass

Member
Location
Cornwall.

Great In Grass

Member
Location
Cornwall.
Autumn grazing and setting up for spring 2021

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Managing grassland well at this time of year offers immediate financial gains, potentially boosts next year’s profitability, and extends your grazing season says Germinal’s grassland expert, Helen Mathieu.

Assessing swards and winter grazing plans.

Each day stock can remain on pasture in autumn saves an estimated £1-3/head on housing, feed, labour, and slurry disposal. Helen shares her top tips on making the most of your grass this autumn while setting yourself up for a flying start in the new year:
  • Carry out assessments of both grazing and cutting swards:
    • Assess soil structures and take remedial action when conditions allow
    • Identify the percentage of perennial ryegrass (PRG) within the swards, looking for a purple base to tillers and folded straight-edged leaves with a shiny underside. Aim for at least 65% PRG in grazing swards and 75% in cutting swards
    • Check white clover content in grazing leys is around 40% to increase intake, fix nitrogen, and improve soil biology

  • Measure sward heights with a sward stick, plate meter or a simple visual tool such as a ruler or marks on the side of your boots. Record paddock by paddock and graze accordingly.
  • Aim for a target residual after the final grazing in each paddock of 1,500kg DM/ha for cattle and 1,200kg DM/ha for sheep. This allows for winter tillering, encourages high-quality regrowth and sets up the right covers for spring.
  • Use back fences in paddocks being strip-grazed to prevent stock grazing regrowth.
  • Depending on the weather, look to start the last grazing rotation in late September or early October. Identify areas of grassland for deferred winter grazing. These are areas where buffer feeding may occur over winter if it suits your conditions.
  • Generally, aim to graze paddocks in the same order they’ll be grazed in spring. Swards with a higher percentage of perennial ryegrass are better quality and have greater spring growth than those containing more indigenous species.
  • To extend autumn grazing, identify gaps in availability. Grass growth drops off as days shorten. What took grass six days to achieve in summer might take three times as long in autumn. Increase rotation lengths from mid-September or extend grazing areas to increase supply.
  • Autumn grazing management on sheep and beef farms centres around body condition. Prioritise your highest quality grass for weaned stock or for flushing ewes.
  • Dry suckler cows, weanlings, or animals destined for outwintering must have a good condition score and be given a full health check. Make sure they are wormed, vaccinated, and receive a mineral bolus.
  • Do you need to supplement intakes during autumn grazing? Dairy cows can do well on grass in the autumn if they’re good grazers but research shows a 5kg DM intake difference between wet and dry days. As the weather deteriorates in autumn, demand, as well as supply, may decline triggering the need to supplement.
  • Autumn grazing requires good infrastructure to protect the vulnerable areas in grazed fields. On dairy farms, aim to use separate gateways to enter and exit the field for daily milkings and consider multiple water troughs to reduce the damage done around a single water point.
  • If cover heights are too high when you finish grazing, think about remedial action to protect quality going into spring. Heavy, high swards over the winter can lead to housed stock being faced with large amounts of low-quality dead material in spring.
  • Sheep can be a good tool for taking grass down effectively and reducing rejection sites in fields grazed by cattle without damaging soil condition. But they must be managed well and leave paddocks by the beginning of December to avoid them delaying regrowth for the spring.
  • Alternatively, if conditions allow, making some big bales for dry cows or youngstock is another option to manage excess covers and spring grass quality.
  • Check summer reseeds. Only graze them once they pass the ‘pull test’, i.e. grass rips when pulled between thumb and finger. If roots come up as well, the grass is not ready for grazing. Practise on/off grazing through the winter when conditions allow and never graze below 7cm to encourage tillering and regrowth.
  • Review this year’s sward performance. Which have performed well? Did reseeds match expectation? Was your fertiliser policy successful? Was fertiliser applied in the right places at the right time? What’s the plan for next year? Which fields might benefit from a reseed?
 

Great In Grass

Member
Location
Cornwall.
Barenbrug completes acquisition of Jacklin® Seed Company

The Royal Barenbrug Group today announces that it has finalised terms for the purchase of Simplot’s Jacklin® Seed business. The transaction, which includes a supply agreement between Barenbrug USA and Simplot Partners, is finalised as of 2 October, 2020. All 50 Jacklin® Seed employees will now work for Barenbrug.

Barenbrug completes acquisition of Jacklin® Seed Company
Barenbrug is a fourth-generation family business from the Netherlands, and has been active in the global grass seed industry since 1904. Today, it is the second-largest grass seed company and the largest family-owned grass seed company in the world. With operations on six continents, Barenbrug focuses on the research, production, marketing, and sale of innovative grass seed products. Jacklin® Seed has been a frontrunner in grass seed production and processing for many years. It also has a strong reputation and portfolio within the lucrative golf course market, exporting to Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and various other Asian countries.

John Thijssen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Royal Barenbrug group: “The American grass seed market is fairly fragmented and highly competitive. Barenbrug has been successful in this market for many years and has grown organically for years. Through this acquisition, the company will become the market leader in the largest grass seed market of the world”.

Besides market growth, Barenbrug has for years been investing in new technologies for the American market. It has its own research station in the U.S. and various trial locations and also cooperates with universities and institutes. The American market offers many opportunities for the development of new technologies. For instance, Barenbrug is working on lawn grasses that grow much slower and therefore require less frequent mowing.

Part of the acquisition is a unique seed processing plant in Washington State in the middle of a large grass seed production area. Also, Barenbrug's product range will be expanded with many new varieties including Kentucky bluegrass and bent grasses.

The purchase also includes a supply agreement between Barenbrug USA and Simplot partners. Simplot will continue to distribute grass seed in the Western part of the US through its wholly-owned Simplot Partners distribution network, which will be partnering with Barenbrug to supply grass seed. As such, the combination of Jacklin Seed’s deep portfolio with Barenbrug’s long term vision, commitment to R&D, and industry-leading market development will provide exceptional value to turf growers and distributors across the world.




About Royal Barenbrug Group
Headquartered in the Netherlands, and with a 115-year history, Barenbrug is a fourth-generation, family-owned company dedicated to the research, development and production of grass seeds & legumes for agricultural and recreational markets. With about 840 employees, active in more than 20 countries on six continents in all major climate regions, our mission is to increase animal productivity to help feed the world and enhance the enjoyment of green spaces. Together, our operating companies deliver annual net sales of above €300 million. More information can be found at www.barenbrug.com.
 

Great In Grass

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The root to improved drought resistance


At the one-of-a-kind RadiMax root screening facility we study root architecture. Based on this unique knowledge combined with other research, we can offer varieties that are verified by RadiMax. These varieties have the strength to meet the drought challenges of the future. Learn more about drought tolerance in turf and forage grasses.
 

Great In Grass

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Location
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The root to..
...reliable forage yields


Changing environmental and climatic conditions challenge your forage production. We offer grasses that can better handle spring and early summer drought, give optimal utilization of nutrients and will result in a strong, healthy and high yielding crop.

The secret is in the roots of the plants. We have gained extensive knowledge about grass root architecture that can help you secure your forage production and reduce drought related loss.


Through our worldwide R&D network and the one-of-a-kind RadiMax root screening facility, we have gained unique knowledge about the root architecture of our grasses. Results show that roots that go deep and have a high mass, are better able to cope with extreme environmental and climatic conditions like drought. Grasses with a deep root mass help to secure a reliable, consistent forage production, and offer more efficient nutrient uptake, better carbon sequestration, improved soil structure and less need for irrigation.

A deep root mass means:

  • Better growth during and after spring and early summer drought
  • Reliable forage production and a higher degree of self-sufficiency
  • Optimal use of input resources e.g. fertilizer, with higher feed quality as a result
  • A future-proof solution to buffer against environmental and climatic extremes e.g. drought
  • Improved soil structure
  • Sustainable forage production
PLUS grasses are drought tolerant

Our two festulolium types Ryegrass PLUS and Tall Fescue PLUS are excellent options in drought conditions. Ryegrass PLUS has the same quick root growth as ryegrass, but has a deeper root mass than ryegrass, which makes it more drought tolerant. Tall fescue PLUS has the same root mass as Tall Fescue but with better forage quality during the spring and summer.

About RadiMax

A fast root growth is always an important factor as it helps the plant establish faster. The root architecture is also very important under drought situations where there is still water at deeper soil layers.
Together with Copenhagen University, DLF is testing the root architecture of grasses at the worlds most advanced root screening facility, RadiMax. It enables imaging of roots down to 3.0 m depth and at the same time the grasses can be exposed to increasing drought conditions through a soil moisture gradient, which can be induced in the system. In this way, we can screen the root architecture of our grasses and find out which ones have the most reliable forage production under drought conditions.

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A cross section of the RadiMax root screening facility
 

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New Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS)

Published on 14th October 2020

The government published an ambitious 25-year environment plan in 2018. The aim is to become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it, including a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Some of these challenges will be met by the launch of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), which is due to be rolled out in 2024.

This new Scheme is likely to have 3 main tiers, focusing on different areas:


Tier 1 focusing on environmentally sustainable farming, including soil protection and improvement, field margins and cover crops. Aimed to be easy for farmers to engage with.


Tier 2 locally targeted environmental outcomes, including habitat creation.


Tier 3 landscape scale land use change projects, including forestry and woodland creation.





Some lessons learned from previous Schemes include a need to have a high level of uptake, better objectives, not overly prescriptive, and better access to advisory services – all of which are welcomed. Limagrain UK will continue to monitor the Scheme’s progression, with a view to develop and test some new seed mixtures that will help deliver some of the environmental objectives.


Look out for future updates.


Details for the ELMSTimeframes
Scheme Design2020-23
Test and Trials2020-27
National Pilot2021-24
ELM start dateLate 2024
Stop new CSS agreements2024
Details for the ELMS timeframes

Downloads
Colour Splash 2019
 

Great In Grass

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Location
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Are you making the most of your forage this winter?
Monday 19.10.2020

Managing grass well over winter

October may seem a strange time of year to be thinking about making the best of forage, given most farms have their silage made and clamped by now and it is too late for autumn reseeding.

However, the way grass is managed over the winter can have a big impact on how fields perform next spring. This year’s warm weather has led to significant grass growth in recent weeks. Combined with the wet weather, this means many farms are carrying higher grass covers than ideal, particularly when most are thinking about housing stock due to the wet conditions. The warm wet weather has also resulted in higher than average foliar disease in grasses, particularly crown rust.

Reducing covers to protect yield and quality in spring

Reducing grass cover now can be achieved by a late silage cut, if weather conditions allow, or grazing with sheep. You may be reluctant to bring sheep on to the farm this year because of the high price of store lambs, and the uncertainty around Brexit and potential impact on lamb prices early next year, but sheep can take grass down effectively.

Given the current levels of disease, it is more important than normal that grass covers are reduced going into the winter to prevent problems with yield and quality in the spring. The cover you need now is based on knowing what you’ll need next spring.

For most farmers, this is about 2,500kg DM/ha at the start of February. If your growth rate over the 90 days of winter is 3kg DM/ha per day, you need to close up with an average farm cover of around 2,200kg DM/ha. As a rough guide, the grass will be about 10cm high.

If you’re unable to remove excess grass now, assess the sward in early Spring. Where there is significant dead and decaying material remove the grass as soon as possible, by grazing or cutting. This allows high-quality fresh grass to re-grow for first cut silage or quality grazing.

What’s in your clamp?
With the forage growing season ending, it is a great time of year to take stock. To understand what is already ensiled for the winter ahead, to consider how crops have performed this year, and to think about changes you might make to forage cropping for 2021.

A great place to start is understanding and making the best of what’s already in the clamp and looking after it.
Analysing silage monthly to keep track of nutritional quality

If you haven’t already done so, take core samples for silage analysis before the clamp is opened then take face samples throughout the winter to keep track of what’s being fed. Sampling every 30 days is a good rule of thumb. If you feed maize silage, starch degradability tends to improve with time in the clamp, so regular analysis can help drive more accurate rationing. Speak to your nutritionist or the lab doing the test for help interpreting the analysis.

Maintaining forage quality at feed-out

Good forage quality comes from having high-quality grass in the first place and ensuring good consolidation and sheeting down when silage is made. But these simple measures at feed-out helps maintain that quality throughout winter:
  1. Aim to roll the sheet back as little as possible at a time. Silage keeps best if air is kept out of the clamp. Only unroll the top sheet for the silage you need that day or no more than enough for 2-3 days at a time.
  2. Try to maintain a neat silage face. A sharp specialist block cutter or shear grab can help, aiming for minimum surface disruption. Avoid using a tined grab or a bucket as they let air into the face encouraging heating and spoilage. This is particularly important for higher DM forages. Being more difficult to consolidate well, they spoil more easily.
  3. Strive for consistency by adapting your ration based on silage analysis. Make sure mixer wagons are serviced and the mix is consistent throughout.
Is there enough in the clamp?

Now is a good time to check you have enough silage in store and decide if you need additional feed to supplement forage stocks. Estimate the total tonnage available by measuring your silage clamp (length x width x height) to calculate total cubic metres. Typically, grass silage is around 600 kg/m3, whereas maize silage is around 700 kg. This is fresh weight, but your silage analysis gives you a dry matter percentage to calculate your overall dry matter availability.

Planning ahead for next year…

When you receive your silage analysis results, think about your forage quality and yield. Is this year’s silage what you hoped for? What are the D value and ME levels? ME represents the energy value of the silage, and ideally you want to see grass silages with ME above 11 and a D value over 70. A higher D value translates into better livestock performance. You can only work with what you have for this winter, but are there things you could change for next year?

What are the reasons for any disappointing silage results? Is it the weather conditions or stage of cutting at harvest, or more fundamental challenges with the fields or crop?

Think about doing seasonal soil sampling to understand crop needs for the spring and plan how you buy fertiliser for the year ahead. Do some fields have a high weed burden? Is soil compaction an issue? Do any fields need sward improvement, either through overseeding in the spring or a complete reseed?

Click here to find a complete guide to autumn sward assessment and how to identify particular issues on our website.

Short-term improvements to a sward can be achieved through over-seeding but a full reseed is the best method for improving a ley. If any fields produced disappointing yield or quality this year, have not re-grown as quickly as you’d hoped, or have a high weed burden, consider a spring reseed to improve productivity and forage quality.

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Great In Grass

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Good grass management now can extend the grazing season and significantly improve grass utilisation, therefore allowing a reduction in winter feed and housing costs.

Winter Grassland Management
As Winter takes hold, day length and light intensity reduces as does air and soil temperature, resulting in a steady reduction in grass growth rates. Generally, clovers, brassicas and perennial grass species slow down first, then hybrid and Italian ryegrasses, followed by Westerwold ryegrasses as the last to stop. In some mild winters, where soil temperatures do not drop below 4OC, these short-term species may continue to grow.

Now is a great time to review the grass performance on your farm for the year. If poorly performing or underperforming fields are identified, take soil samples to highlight soil fertility issues and check fields for soil structure problems. Create a plan to rectify along with pasture renovation or reseeding in the spring.

Your grass management plan now will depend on the ages of the sward, sown species, and livestock requirements as well as considering the requirements for spring 2021. Good grass management now can extend the grazing season and significantly improve grass utilisation, therefore allowing a reduction in winter feed and housing costs.

Managing your establishing grass swards – when to graze?
An ‘establishing sward’ is one which is less than 12 months old. For the recent summer reseeds, carrying out a ‘pluck test’, will show if a sward is ready to be grazed. Follow the guide on how to carry out a pluck test. If the leaves break off and the roots stay in the ground, the pluck test is passed, and the ley is ready to graze.

Secondly, make sure that the ground is firm enough to carry livestock and never graze this before the grass plants have produced their second tiller. If the ground is firm and you add livestock, remember the first grazing is about managing the sward and encouraging tillering, not about feeding animals. Always pick the lightest stock class available and do not graze below 7cm at this time of year. Your earlier spring reseeds will be better established and may cope with larger animals but should be treated with equal care and attention to encourage further tillering (especially if they have been cut rather than grazed).

Managing your established grass swards
Within a rotational grazing platform, thoughts will now turn to spring requirements. The first fields that will be grazed in spring should be the first to be rested in the winter. It can take a perennial ryegrass plant 1 month to produce one new leaf during Winter (compared to 24 days for three new leaves in summer), so paddocks should be rested for at least 4 months during the winter period. Paddocks should be grazed to around 1500kg DM/ha (~4cm) and no lower before resting. In an average year, this will be in October/November with livestock either being housed or moved to sacrifice fields, brassica swards or deferred grazing.

Where excess growth occurs in a mild autumn, and ground conditions haven’t allowed for mowing, sheep are an excellent tool for removing surplus growth. This is crucial to prevent a build-up of low-quality or dead grass for the spring sward when stock is returned to the rotational platform. Again, livestock should be removed in December/early January or in plenty time to allow the sward to recover.


Brassica Crops


Brassica crops are widely utilised throughout the UK to supplement diets when growth is limited in animal production systems. This can be summer or autumn/winter and as well as being capable of producing high yields of high-quality forage (ME 10.5-13 MJ, CP 16-24%), they act as a break crop during pasture renewal. Brassica can help with weed, pest and disease reduction and create better soil conditions and cleaner seedbeds for establishing new pastures.

Forage brassicas lack structural fibre therefore a source of coarse fibre from silage, hay or straw should be available to add into grazing areas to maintain rumen function and prevent acidosis and bloat. You should ensure that all feed bales (silage, straw) are placed in the field prior to the start of the grazing period and before wet autumn/winter conditions occur. It is important to include a ‘lie-back’ area (this could be an adjoining grass field), to keep the animals clean, give them somewhere to lie down and allow their feet to dry.

For example, at 30% dietary inclusion, a stocking density of 18 cows or 25 youngstock/ha for 100 days should be achievable with kale crops producing 11 t DM/ha. Stubble turnips with a typical yield of 5.6t DM/ha should support approximately 5 cows or 7 youngstock/ha for 100 days. If the brassicas are 70% of the diet, the same kale crop will feed 66 ewes, 51 lambs, 10 suckler cows or 11 store cattle/ha for 100 days. The stubble turnips will support 44 ewes, 34 lambs, 6 suckler cows or 7 store cattle/ha for 100 days. The most efficient utilisation of grazed brassica crops is when strip grazing with an electric fence, so stock is allowed a relatively small fresh crop area each day.

The key tips for successfully utilising brassica crops in out-wintering systems for cattle:
  • Use long narrow feed face allocations so all animals have access to the crop. Move the fence daily.
  • Calculate daily DM requirements, crop DM %, and allocate the crop accordingly. It is important to achieve good estimates of the yield, DM content and proportion of crop utilised if accurate animal rationing is to be practised.
  • Transition livestock, this may take up to 3 weeks for them to adapt to the crop. Like any diet change, introduce it gradually over 7 – 10 days allowing only “full” animals onto the crop initially.
  • Maximum dietary inclusion should be 70% of the dry matter allocation. Never feed 100% brassicas, even for short periods. Milk cows should only receive a maximum of 30% of their diet as brassicas.
  • Include a pasture run-off area and always supplement with minerals, water and long fibre
  • Identify any animals that will not eat brassicas and manage separately on another system
  • Do not feed cows that are close-to calving on brassica crops and do not feed older, broken mouthed or breeding ewes on roots to avoid tooth damage.

Download the Barenbrug Brassica & Forage crops guide for more advice to help you grow, manage and feed your brassica crops

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Great In Grass

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