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Frequently Asked Questions

Quick answers to some important questions

Buying Seed Online

Buying Seed Online

Is there VAT on grass seed?

There is no VAT on seed for agricultural use (or for lawn seed). However, VAT does apply on some wildflowers and wildflower mixes.

When will my order arrive?

Your order will arrive the next working day (if ordered before 2pm), providing all the seed for your order is in stock. Orders placed on Friday (before 2pm) will arrive on Monday. Orders placed over the weekend will be delivered on Tuesday.

What are your delivery charges?

Orders over £50 in value are delivered free of charge to most areas in mainland UK. Additional delivery charges may apply to outlying areas, highlands and Islands (see the map on our 'Ordering & Delivery' page). If an additional charge applies it will be automatically calculated and added to your order during checkout or, if you order by phone, it will be advised at the time of purchase.  Orders under £50 in value have a delivery charge of £8.

Do you sell cereal seed?

Normally, we stock very small amounts of some cereals for use in wild bird seed mixtures. We do not sell large quantities of straight cereals.

Lucerne

Lucerne

How do I get wheat or other cereal volunteers out of lucerne?

Cereal volenteers can be a problem when lucerne is sown in the autumn after harvest. Providing that cereal levels are low this is not usually a problem as it can be mixed into the silage. However, at high levels volunteers can overwhelm young lucerne plants and so they are best removed. This can be done by quickly grazing with sheep or cattle (don't leave them on too long or the lucerne buds will be damaged) or by applying a graminicide. Topping is also a possibility but if done too early in the spring may not make any real difference as the cereal will recover.

Overseeding

Overseeding

Which is best broadcasting or direct drilling?

Both methods work well. It’s very important to get some tilth with a harrow when broadcasting, rolling afterwards is also essential. When drilling ensure that seed is sown at the correct depth. Grass around 1-2 cm, clover no more than 1 cm.

What should I sow in the spring to provide hay this summer?

The annual ryegrass, westerwolds, is the only grass that can be sown in the spring to provide stemmy growth for hay making in the same year. Although other grasses can be sown, the initial growth is soft and leafy. Grasses such as Italian and perennial ryegrass need a winter before they provide stem for hay making.

Grass Leys

Grass Leys

What’s the latest date grass leys can be planted in the autumn?

September. Which end of the month depends on the aspect of the field and how far north or south you are in the UK. 

Can I use N on clover?

Yes all plants need N but high levels of applied N will decrease the amount of N that a clover plant fixes through its root nodules. Artificial N can be used to knock back clover if it gets too dominant in a sward, as the N will favour the ryegrass and increase its competitiveness.

Can I use FYM on clover?

Yes, manure is beneficial as it replenishes phosphate and potash which is taken off in silage or hay cuts. Both P & K are necessary to grow clover successfully.

Can clover really replace N fertiliser?

The amount of nitrogen from clover varies and is less predictable when compared to the application of artificial N. However, it can make a huge amount of N available in the soil and experiments conducted at research farms show that it is an economical alternative

What is D value?

The term D-value refers to the amount of digestible organic matter in forage and is usually expressed as a percentage. D-value is the bit the animal can digest. The amount of digestible material declines as the yield increases. Therefore, a compromise between yield and quality must be made. With most grass leys a satisfactory compromise is found between yield and quality at the point when D-value is 67% of the forage.

What yield can I expect from my grass ley?

The yield of grass is measured in tonnes of dry matter (DM) per hectare. Yield varies between 5t DM and 20t DM per hectare. The amount largely depends on the species composition of a sward, soil fertility and the amount of rainfall.

Will Italian ryegrass last more than two years?

Italian ryegrass leys are usually left down for 2 years. It can be tempting to leave them down for a third year but the yield usually drops by half. This is made worse by dry summers and hard winters.

What is a tetraploid variety of ryegrass?

Ploidy is a term that refers to the number of chromozones a plant has. Originally, ryegrasses were only availble in the form of diploid. Diploids have two sets of chromozones, one from each parent. Tetraploid ryegrasses have been developed by plant breeders and have double the number of chromozones (four). This changes some characteristics within the plant. Notably, tetraploids are more palatable, generally contain higher sugar content, are less persistant and have larger seeds which are quick to establish. As they provide fast growing seedlings they are ideal for overseeding.

Root Crops

Root Crops

What’s the latest date for planting stubble turnips and forage rape?

August is the latest month to sow. These brassicas need 12 weeks of growing weather ahead of sowing to reach a full crop.

Should I use treated seed?

Treated seed is available but we prefer not to recommend it. Insecticides are not suitable for seed mixtures as we cannot mix them together safely. Also these treatments can double the cost of seed and do not always work effectively against the target pest. Most farmers choose to spray post emergence.

Can I feed stubble turnips and forage rape to cattle and/or sheep?

Yes. Both of these are suitable. Rape and turnips have similar yields. Rape is a bit lower yielding but has higher dry matter content and more protein.

Rooting out Winter Feed with Forage Brassicas

Will kale last longer than stubble turnips?

Yes. Kale is more winter hardy than stubble turnips and can be grazed in situ until the end of the winter. However, kale needs two months longer to grow and so should be sown in May or June. Other brassicas such as swede and hardy (maincrop) turnip can also provide winter feed.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

How do I establish a wild flower meadow?

Before sowing ensure that all previous growth is under control otherwise any remaining, strong-growing weeds will dominate. This may take a season or two but is worth the delay. A reasonably fine seedbed should be prepared and ideally rolled before sowing. Seed can then be broadcast between April-May or August-September. Mow during the first season to control any annual weeds which would otherwise hinder the development of delicate wild flowers.

Creating a Wild Flower meadow

How do I prevent the grasses taking over in my wild flower meadow?

Most wild flower areas should contain grasses. This provides a good balance of biodiversity and ground cover. However, grasses can dominate if they are inappropriately used in seed mixtures or if they establish as a result of insufficient grass weed control prior to sowing. This problem is made worse on heavy clay and moisture retentive soils.

Green Manures

Green Manures

Which is the best green manure for a vegetable garden or allotment?

Mustard is the best summer green manure for small scale producers. Its really easy to grow and dig in. For over winter use then rye and/or vetches are really good. They can be sown anytime through September and October.

What’s the latest in the year I can sow a green manure?

The last green manures get planted in October. Rye and vetch are both suitable at this stage. Other green manures such as westerwolds ryegrass and red clover should be sown by mid September.

How do I incorporate my green manure?

Green manure crops should be destroyed well in advance of incorporation otherwise they will be difficult to deal with. First cut back growth with a flail mower and then work it into the soil as shallow as possible. The deeper in the green material goes the less effect it has.

Sort Out Your Soil - A Practical Guide to Green Manures

Red Clover

Red Clover

Will red clover give my stock bloat?

Most farmers perceive bloat as the biggest single reason not to grow clover. Whilst dealing with a blown animal is not pleasant, occurrences of it are rare. There are many positive reasons to grow clovers and farmers should take necessary measures to avoid bloat. Do not turn out hungry beasts onto clover rich swards. Feed straw or bulk before turning out. Where possible introduce them gradually to high clover swards. Most animals adapt quite quickly to clover leys but do not appreciate dramatic changes to their diet. This is especially true of cattle.

Bloat – A new approach to an old problem

How much red clover is safe for to ewes to graze?

For most of the year ewes can graze any amount of red clover. It is however at tupping time that their intake should be controlled. Red clover contains oestrogen and, at high levels in a sward of conserved forage, this can act like a contraceptive. It is best to avoid feeding red clover one month before and after conception to be safe. This can also affect horses and cattle.

Lawns

Lawns

How do I work out how much seed I need for my lawn?

For our low maintainance lawns, we recommend a sowing rate of 50-70 g/m2. If you know the area of your lawn in metres squared, it is a simple calculation:  sowing rate x area in m2 and then divide by 1000.  So if your sowing rate is 70g/m2 and your lawn is 50m2 the maths is 70 x 50 = 3500/1000 = 3.5kgs.

To work out the area of your lawn in square metres measure its width and its length and multiply the two together.  So, if it is 10m wide and 17m long, then the area is 170m2.

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