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Introduction

The issue:

Sown perennial pastures thin out over time, reducing productivity and providing an opportunity for weeds to increase. Resowing pastures is expensive and risky.

The impact:

Reduced desirable grass content increases the opportunity for weed invasion that can add further stress to an already declining pasture. Eventually the sown pasture loses both productivity and persistence.

The opportunity:

There are strategies that can be used every few years to encourage seedling recruitment in perennial ryegrass and cocksfoot, resulting in new plants without having to resow.

Recruited perennial ryegrass seedling in amongst established plants.

Seeding is part of the natural life cycle of perennial grasses, but allowing plants to mature and drop seed is not essential for their survival. However, encouraging optimal seeding is a strategy for some perennial grasses which tend to thin out due to hot and dry summers.1

There are a number of ways producers can encourage seedling recruitment in their pastures and here we look at how seedling recruitment can be managed.

Note: This eLearning module focuses on ryegrass and cocksfoot as there is solid research-based evidence surrounding seedling recruitment with these species. Information on other species, at this stage, is anecdotal.

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