A NEW grass mixture just launched by Limagrain has been specially designed for grazing swards for cattle and sheep.

Part of its Sinclair McGill range, the new mixture, Castleherb, combines 40% grass species with 30% each of legumes and herbs.

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

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

Castleherb also includes forage herbs plantain and chicory, which are deep-rooted and relatively drought-resistant, with the potential to draw up more minerals.

“This new mixture is scientifically formulated and embraces the complementary effect of combining different species,” said Limagrain grass seed manager, Ian Misselbrook. “It is a four-year ley with a long growing season and low running costs. Like most multi-species mixtures, it needs limited or no fertiliser applications. And the combination of species provides a protein, trace element and mineral-rich feed.”

Trial work shows that these types of mixtures can improve voluntary intakes by livestock and result in livestock performance comparable with that seen from grass leys receiving up to 250kg of nitrogen per hectare.

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

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.