When to reseed grassland – autumn or spring?

Find out why soil conditions are important in deciding between an autumn or spring reseed.   

Back to: Preparing to reseed grassland

Focus on soil conditions

Successful establishment can be achieved in spring and autumn, and there are pros and cons to both. In each case, there needs to be significant soil moisture to assist germination. The timing should be planned to minimise the effect of yield loss by taking an area of land out of grass production. It is important to make sure soil conditions are correct before proceeding.

Current practices

Results from a survey on reseeding found 66% of respondents reseeded in the autumn (August to October), with 30% reseeding in the spring (March to May). The remainder reseeded in June and July.

Additionally, about 8% of reseeds were following brassicas. The three most common previous crops were permanent grass (33.3%), cereals (21.6%) and temporary grass (17.1%).

Spring vs autumn reseeding

The pros and cons of spring and autumn reseeding




Greater window of good conditions for establishment


Minimal impact on yield loss

No heading in first season

Seedbed has time to settle over the winter, allowing good structure to form

Better opportunity to outcompete weeds





Lose peak growth

Weed competition can be significant with late reseeds

Shorter window for soil to settle before carrying stock

Narrower window of good establishment conditions

The need for a break crop when reseeding grassland

A break crop, such as stubble turnips or kale, can be used to avoid a grass-to-grass reseed. It can help to break any pest cycles and provides useful additional feed if used well.

There must be a clear plan of how the break crop will be established and used to ensure it is cost-effective. Using a break crop within a field classed as permanent pasture, i.e. more than five years old, will change it to temporary grassland.

Useful links

Read more in Using brassicas for better returns

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