Multispecies mixture can extend grazing season

03 May 2019

A multispecies grass mixture, designed for grazing by cattle, has been launched by Limagrain. Part of its Sinclair McGill range, the Castleherb mixture combines 40% grass species with 30% legumes and 30% herbs.

The grasses are made up of: intermediate and late perennial ryegrasses; a Matrix-enhanced ryegrass, which is a mix of perennial ryegrass and meadow fescue with an extended grazing season and rapid regrowth; and the early growing species Timothy, which begins growing in early spring, before the ryegrasses, and then has another growth surge in mid-summer, when ryegrasses slow down.

Legume content

Red- and white-clover varieties are included in the mixture and contribute to the mixture’s protein, trace elements and mineral feed value, as well as providing valuable nitrogen-fixing attributes typical of legumes. The legume content included in the mixture reduces or eliminates the need for nitrogen applications.

It also includes the forage herbs plantain and chicory. These herbs are deep-rooted making them relatively drought-resistant and have the potential to draw up more minerals. They provide a mineral-rich feed that can enhance livestock health.

Growing season

The mixture produces a four-year ley, with a long growing season and low running costs. “Like most multispecies mixtures, it needs limited or no fertiliser applications. And the combination of species provides a protein, trace element and mineral-rich feed,” says Limagrain’s Ian Misselbrook.

“Multispecies mixtures have an increasingly important part to play in sustainable, environmentally-friendly livestock systems,” adds Mr Misselbrook. “And the latest mixtures have the potential to achieve livestock performance at least on par with grazed grass-only leys.”

Seed rate

The suggested seed rate for Castleherb is 27kg/ha to 32kg/ha, sown into a fine seed bed, either in spring or autumn, when enough moisture is available.