Thursday, 26 January 2017

Earthquake Recovery - over sowing guidelines


If you choose to over sow slip faces then there are a few guidelines that should be followed to improve chances of success.

  • Use coated seed (this can be flown on with fertiliser).
  • Sow species that suit your fertility and rainfall e.g.
    • Low fertility and dry = Cocksfoot and sub clover planted in the autumn.
    • Summer safe and reasonable fertility = Perennial ryegrass and white clover.
  • Apply seed at a time that gives greatest chance of germination and establishment on a hostile slip environment.
  • Legumes have the greatest chances of re-establishing in the low nitrogen environment that exists on slips.
  • Once a slip face has recovered some vegetation, phosphate, sulphur and possibly lime will be important for supporting the legume growth as it develops.
  • There may be some slip areas that would benefit from planting trees, which is highly recommended for soil erosion control.

There is a risk of losing seed or seedlings due to heavy rain and/or subsequent dry periods. Establishment can fail if the slip is not stabilised properly, risk of failure will be greater on steeper slopes with little residual soil. Slips arising from mudstone parent material will be easier to re-vegetate than those from siltstone, and sandstone based soil will be hardest of all.

Drought damage solutions
For those who are also recovering from the drought damage, some pastures will need a top up. Stitching in 10-15 kg of an Italian ryegrass would give a year or two of feed until the paddock is cropped or re-grassed. This would make great baleage if the area is suitable.

After a dry period you often get a lot of weeds coming through in the gaps where previous plants have died. Sowing an annual (6–9 month) or Italian (9–18 month) allows you to easily spray out weeds then you can sow a permanent pasture the following autumn or the one after that.

For those not wanting a break crop, planting a permanent grass such as cocksfoot or perennial ryegrass and then adding clover at a later date once you are on top of the weeds. An alternative break crop could be a brassica if you have reasonable fertility.

No one size fits all
Remember every situation is different depending on what you are after. For more information on how Ravensdown can help you get back on your feet, contact your local agri manager or agronomist who can talk you through various options that might suit your property and situation. We’ll look after you.