Largest amenity grower

We love locally grown!

 

We’re backing British farmers with over 2,000 hectares of British farmland producing our grass seed.

 

Our grasses are tried, tested and proven with British farmers (including at our own Cropvale Research Site in Worcestershire).

 

Growing locally allows us to carefully evaluate the quality standards, keeping a close eye on crops, and establishing a strong collaboration and connection with experienced and trusted growers.

 

  • The UK’s largest amenity seed grower
  • In 2017, over 50% of perennial ryegrasses and over 60% of red fescue harvested in the UK was grown by Barenbrug UK
  • Tried, tested, and proven in the UK

 

  

Amenity grass seed production in the UK

Barenbrug UK has a healthy portfolio of top-ranking Red Fescues and Perennial Ryegrasses.

The Red Fescues Barcrown, Barpearl, Viktorka, Reggae Musica and Barlineus are all produced in the UK by seed growers well experienced in their production. Barenbrug currently have 63% of the Red Fescue seed production area in the UK.

Quality is a major issue in the production of these varieties but effective, and legal, herbicides are not readily available. The area under production is simply not big enough to interest the Pesticide manufacturers. Control of grass weeds is therefore dependent on the judicious use of glyphosate (very risky in times of frost) or grass weed specific herbicides like Falcon and Laser.

Certain grass weeds such as Rat’s Tail Fescue are tolerant of glyphosate at the low rates that must be used in these crops. Other grass weeds such as Blackgrass, Brome grasses and Annual Meadow-grass may be well controlled at these low rates but often not at a high enough level to avoid contamination of the cleaned seed. These weed seeds are almost impossible to clean out. It is essential that seed producers use the cleanest fields on their farms for seed production. (If anyone knows of fields that are completely free of all these grass weeds please let me know!).

However, many of these grasses are annuals and those such as Blackgrass and Rat’s Tail will naturally die out in the Autumn so need not be a problem. They also do not take kindly to regular mowing.

The Barenbrug portfolio of amenity perennial ryegrasses has some very highly placed varieties in the STRI lists. Barenbrug UK has 50% of the amenity Perennial Ryegrass seed production area in the UK.

Again, the emphasis is very much on quality and, as with the Red Fescues, herbicides for grass weed control are in very short supply. In fact, there is only one mainstay for grass weed control and that is Ethofumesate. There are severe usage restrictions on this chemical which means that grass weed control can be very unpredictable.

Again, seed producers are trying to use their cleanest fields to curtail potential problems but because there are legal requirements for previous crops this not always possible.

Barenbrug UK only produces certified seed that is produced subject to legal enforcement through the various Seeds Legislation Acts. This ensures that seed we sell has complied with all certification requirements in terms of previous cropping, NIAB control plots, crop inspections and purity and germination.

 

Seed production

Grass seed production is a challenging farm crop and may be extremely lucrative. Most grass seed crops are taken for two harvest years so, as well as reducing inputs, are therefore a valuable break crop especially for cereal seed producers.

The seed crop has a number of important roles top play.


It offers a further weapon in the battle against Blackgrass as different chemistry is used for Blackgrass control. The fact that the ground is not cultivated for two years also results in a big drop in viable Blackgrass seeds in the ground.

 

The hay that the crop produces is a valuable commodity as feed for horses and other livestock. With horse ownership on the increase this is financially lucrative as well.

The crop may also have big environmental and wildlife advantages. The cover, that the crop develops and provides over the 2 years, for insects, rodents and nesting is important for Skylarks, Barn Owls and other wildlife. The mass of root and other plant parts contributes towards soil organic matter thereby improving fertility and structure.

The seed crop is always grown under contract. The crop is planted either under-sown in the Spring or in its own right in the Autumn. Either way the first harvest is the following year. The field into which the crop is sown must not have been in grass for at least the 4 previous harvest years.

The crop is inspected during April, May or June depending on heading date. This is to check for varietal purity and to ensure that there are no crops capable of cross-pollinating within 50m.

 

The earliest crops are harvested in early July with the later ones continuing up to the middle of August. The seed is immediately dried down to 12% moisture for safe storage until cleaning. After cleaning the seed is tested for certification to ensure that it passes the relevant standards.

 

Seed Production Manager

 

 

 

ANDY SADLER
Production Manager

Andy brings a wealth of agricultural experience to his position as production manager where for the past 12 years he has been responsible for the company's UK grass seed production. With over 2,000 hectares sown with Barenbrug cultivars this is no small task.

 

With a BSc Hons (Botany); MSc Environmental Resources, herbage and turnip crop inspection licences he is very well placed to manage this important role.

Prior to joining Barenbrug he gained extensive experience from positions in farm management, agricultural education and agricultural advice in the UK, Saudia Arabia and Central and Southern Africa.

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