Choosing the correct grass species for a grassland reseed

Learn more about selecting the correct grass species for your situation when reseeding and discover the differences between diploids and tetraploids.

How do species differ?

Currently, most reseeds are a mixture of diploid and tetraploid perennial ryegrasses. However, other types of ryegrass and species such as clover, cocksfoot and timothy may have a role to play in certain situations.

Each type of grass has different growth and quality characteristics. When reseeding, it is important to select the most appropriate species for the situation.

Diploids vs tetraploids

Tetraploids have twice the number of chromosomes than diploid varieties, increasing the size of the plant’s cells. They have larger seeds and leaves and tend to establish quickly. They are also more able to compete when overseeding pastures. Tetraploids have a more upright growth habit and are suited to drier growing conditions.

Diploids are more persistent and tiller more freely, producing denser swards than tetraploids. They are generally better suited to wetter growing conditions.

Summary of the typical performance of different grass species

 

Perennial ryegrass

Italian ryegrass

Hybrid ryegrass

Timothy

Cocksfoot

Diploid

Tetraploid

Diploid

Tetraploid

Grazing DM yield (t/ha)

10.5

10.5

-

-

-

11.4

-

Grazing D-value

75.9

76.3

-

-

-

72.1

-

Silage DM yield (t/ha)

15.2

15.5

18.1

18.2

16.3

13.8

15.3

Silage D-value

73.4

73.7

70.8

71.8

70.7

64.3

70.5

Ground cover (1=poor, 9=good)

6.6

5.8

3.8

6

4.2

5.3

6.3

Winter hardiness (1=poor, 9=good)

6.5

6.7

6.8

7

7.1

7.0

5.5

Suitable for

Five to six-year leys

Grazing

Silage

Two-year leys

Silage

Three-to-four-year leys

Silage

Rotational cattle grazing

Wetter soil

Extensive grazing

Dry soils

Silage

Grass identification

The below information will help you learn how to identify grass species. Find information, diagrams and images to help.

Grass identification

Clover species

From management of clover to the differences in leaf size, our resources will help you to utilise clover in a grassland reseed.

Clover species

Three key steps to selecting varieties

Find out why choosing the most appropriate traits for your farm is an important part of grassland reseed. Find out why the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists are so important.

Selecting varieties

Formulating grass mixtures

Read our information on the benefits of grass mixtures and top tips for using mixtures in a grassland reseed.

Formulating grass mixtures

Alternative species

Chicory, plantain and lucerne are some examples of alternative species. See our information on the benefits of diverse pastures.

Alternative species

Useful links

The latest grass growth and quality figures, along with the latest updates and resources.

Read the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists

Find out more about reseeding after a dry summer

How to graze new leys on the platform

Learn more about choosing seed mixes for grazing platforms

Reseeding webinars

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