Establishing grassland reseeds

From preparing the seedbed to selecting the right cultivation method, our guide to establishing grassland reseeds will help you to maintain productivity.  

Reseeding and grassland management

Reseeding is an important part of grassland management on any farm and is essential for maintaining productive grassland.

Well-managed grass is the cheapest feed for ruminants. Renewing pastures regularly is important to maximise productivity and maintain feed quality. 

Typically, the benefits of a new ley, which include improved yield, quality and disease resistance, can last five to ten years over an existing sward. However, over time, these benefits will decline.  

The rate at which this happens and the requirement to reseed will depend on: 

  • Soil health – maintaining correct soil pH and avoiding compaction
  • Nutrition – maintaining sward’s nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur requirements
  • Weed control – maintaining an appropriate weed control programme
  • Grassland management – reducing ingress of native species (e.g. meadow grass, creeping bent), which are of lower production and nutritional quality

The primary aim of any reseed cultivation is to provide the perfect environment for a seed to germinate. 

This means:  

  • Good seed-to-soil contact 
  • A fine seedbed with good soil structure to ensure a good supply of oxygen to support root development
  • Retaining sufficient moisture for seed germination
  • A weed-free seedbed 

Which grassland reseeding method should I use?

Use our decision tree to select the correct cultivation technique. We’ve also got pointers on how to prepare the seedbed for this important stage, regardless of which technique you use.

Grassland reseeding: establishment methods

Top tips for ploughing, cultivation and overseeding

Setting up the plough correctly and checking the front furrow width are just a couple of things to consider when reseeding. Our quick-reference top tips act as a handy reminder.

Grassland reseeding: top tips for ploughing, cultivation and overseeding

Sowing depth, seed rates and rolling

Although seeds can germinate at any soil depth, a shallow sowing depth is critical for successful establishment. Learn more about sowing depth and read our information on seed rates and rolling.

Grassland reseeding: sowing depth, seed rates and rolling

Useful links

Read more about establishing and growing clover

If you would like to order a hard copy of the Establishing and growing clover manual, please contact:

Telephone: 0247 799 0069