Kingshay Grass Seed Mixes

Ryegrasses account for over 90% of the grass seed sown for forage in the UK and Ireland. Plant breeders' research today concentrates on breeding perennials, Italians and hybrids that deliver the goods on herbage quality and reduced inputs.

With farmers facing rising feed costs and low farm output prices, making more from your grass swards is a key step ruminant farmers can take to build resilience into the business. Grazing good quality grass can produce milk at a cost of only 3.9ppl, whereas grazing old pasture the cost is 6ppl. Or in terms of liveweight gain, this equates to a 14p reduction in cost to produce 1kg LWG.

Hundreds of grass varieties are being marketed today, so it is important to know that the investment you have made in renovating old pastures will deliver long-term yield and quality benefits. Renovated swards typically yield 33% more in the first year and 10% more after that than a ley older than 5 years. When establishing a new sward, the cost of the grass seed is 24% of the total cost, so it is important to choose high quality varieties, suitable for the purpose you have in mind.

For over 20 years, Kingshay has been running a number of different grass trials, to enable selection of the best performing varieties for our grass seed mixes. We now have active trials comparing different diploid and tetraploid varieties for performance, persistence and palatability, as well as hybrids and perennials, red clover monocultures and hybrid mixes. Our grass trial plots are managed under normal farming conditions, both here at Bridge Farm, in Somerset, and other sites across the country, with typical fertiliser and grassland management practice. The plots are monitored and measured throughout the growing season and at each grazing round, scored pre and post grazing to reveal crucial information of which ones the cows prefer to eat. The large data set collected year on year enables best performers to be selected for relevant mixes which we then supply as short-term cutting leys, long-term cutting and grazing leys, with or without clover, specialist leys to over-sow, protein and red clover or organic leys. An added benefit is that when you phone to place an order, you can talk to the specialists who conducted the trials to get the inside line on what will suit your needs best.

We also trial other forage crops, such as brassicas for summer or winter catch crops for ‘hungry gaps' when grass is short or to extend the grazing season. We can also offer bespoke seed mixes for these catch crops as well as Stewardship margin mixes or ecological focus area mixes. Although the main mixes have been made for dairy farms, we can also supply mixes suitable for beef and sheep grazing requirements.