This winter has seen much of the countryside under water, with grassland flooded and paddocks resembling ‘mud baths.’ Many people are fearful as to how and when they will get their grazing back in to shape but here are a few helpful tips to guide you through the next few weeks and months.
With water subsiding, it is only now that you will be able to tell how much damage has been done. If grass has been submerged for more than 10 days it is likely to have been severely checked due to the lack of oxygen. Many of the valuable nutrients may have been washed away and need replacing with many areas needing to be reseeded.
- Check and clear the land of any flood debris, which could be dangerous to livestock or obstruct machinery
- Collect soil samples and send for testing to check the soil pH, phosphorous and potash levels. Shire Country Services can offer this service and provide advice on the appropriate remedial action to be taken with fertiliser and/or lime. pH is key after such wet conditions.
- Take advice as to whether the areas need a total reseed or just over-seeding. This is best done when the ground warms up. Grass starts to grow when at a soil depth of 10cms the soil is +5-6 ⁰C for more than 10 days and before it fully dries out. This is usually towards the end of March and into April but it is dependent on the weather and soil type. Sandy soils warm up faster than clay soils.
- A good harrow and roll will help to pull out the dead grass and flatten out the muddy poached areas.
- Aerate the land that has been damaged to ensure that newly seeded grass has air pockets in the soil for good germination and growth.
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