Why you should be reseeding this autumn

The advantages of an autumn reseed

Why you should be reseeding this autumn

With many areas seeing an abundance of grass growth, particularly compared to 2018, dismissing an autumn reseed this year could result in farmers missing out on thousands of pounds worth of production.


Whilst walking many problematic fields (again) this year, there is definitely more grass around however these are the fields which were poorly performing before, are still the worst on the farm. These are the ones costing farmers money rather than contributing to the bottom line and if another early winter or late spring arrives, this issue will be compounded further.


The agricultural grass team at Barenbrug has calculated that farmers that reseed grass leys can expect a ten-fold return on investment as a minimum - depending on the focus of their farm. Using control *RGCL figures, Barenbrug estimates that reseeding with perennial ryegrasses has the potential farmers to achieve grass yields of around 11.48 t DM/ha on a two cut silage system. That’s enough grass to generate 134,000 MJ of energy or the equivalent of:

  • 25,283 litres of milk worth *127.3p/l = £6902
  • 2233kg lamb worth *1410.5p/kg = £9166
  • 2481kg beef worth *1314.1p/kg = £7792

In 2017, AHDB estimated the average yield of grass in the UK to be 7.9t DM/ha. Comparing seed sales to the temporary and permanent grass area in the UK, the UK reseeding rate stands somewhere between 2 and 4% per year meaning we are more likely to drop in overall grass production than gain.


Assuming the annual average grass yield is only 50% of potential, livestock farmers could be missing out on over £4000 of milk, £6000 of lamb or £5000 of beef within the first 12 – 15 months of reseeding perennial species which, where well managed, will continue to perform for a number of years.

With the average full reseed costing between £650 - £700*2 per hectare, we speak to many people who struggle to see past the initial expense but the potential production from increasing average productivity by even 20% more than covers the cost. Reseeding, when done properly and with attention to details WILL provide a huge return on investment. Commenting, Mhairi Dawson said: “Future proofing your forage by investing in a reseed is a great way to improve productivity and resilience, and counter the weather-related problems we’ve seen over the past eighteen months. It can be difficult to comprehend the value of a reseed, until you see the impact it can have on production levels - particularly when growing conditions are unfavourable.”


*RGCL = Recommended Grass and Clover List 2018-2019. Independent data.
*1AHDB 5 year average price (2014 – 2018 inc)
*2Calculated using National Association Agricultural Contractors Prices (2018-2019)


Photos left to right: Ploughing old grass | Establishing grass | More established grass