Seeding grass

"Did Direct Seeding hit upon the right thing?" by Jussi Knuuttila

Mr. Pekka Hannula from Tynkä in Kalajoki last summer tried out reformation of organic grass sward by applying the direct seeding method. The results were so impressive that it makes sense to outline the experiment here.

The experiment was carried out on a 20-hectare underdrained plot of sward with a 4-year-old stand that had seen better days. Virtually bare areas here - sparse stand there. Because of the thinness of the stand, weeds were also starting to emerge. The soil type was light sedge peat.

The plot was sown early in spring with two passes using the Real Direct Seeding Drill of Vieskan Metalli. This enabled a good seeding density to be achieved, despite the long coulter interspace. The drive paths were chosen so that the coulter tracks formed a diamond-shape. The seeding quantities were adjusted to a total amount of 25 kilos per hectare.

The stubble after the second silage harvest
clearly shows the density of sward
patched using a direct seeding drill.

All kinds of weeds take root in
the sparse areas of the sward.
Here is marsh foxtail growing rank.

The grass got denser

The stubble after the second silage harvest clearly shows the density of sward patched using a direct seeding drill. The results were good - to say the least. The new seeding naturally did not have much affect on the first harvest, and also some weeds appeared. The second harvest truly exceeded all expectations. The plant stand was so dense that the undersigned has never encountered anything like it before, at least not in Finland. Even the weeds were choked by the unbelievable density of the grass. The most advanced grass farmers are aware the density of the sward is the ingredient of the great crop. Of course, all the other farming measures must be right. Grass ranking weeds never produces a good crop.

What is the lesson of all this? At least we should realize that the sward must be kept dense. If this is not the case, it is time for reformation, in one way or another.

In many cases the grass plot in other aspects is absolutely fine, but some areas require patching. Easy to say, difficult to put into practice. Farms very seldom possess seed drills designed specifically for patch seeding. One reason is definitely because they are expensive related to their occasional use.

This test produced an extremely encouraging result. It is obvious that the method is well worth studying further. Special attention must be paid to seeding depth. A grass seed, seeded too deep, never emerges.