Have you considered avoiding the plough when reseeding grass to grass?
On our own farm we have used several methods over the last 2 years, to avoid the loss of soil structure and organic matter that tends to occur with ploughing. With shallow soils over heavy clay it has been particularly important to avoid bringing up subsoil on land we have recently taken on, which has not seen a cultivator for 25 years or more. These methods also reduce the establishment cost.
Example 1: Autumn 2018 (above right)
Lemken tined cultivator twice, power harrow twice, roll, drill, roll twice. In this particular case, the moisture retained by non-inversion tillage gave the field a significant advantage in such a dry year.
Example 2: Late summer 2018 (right)
Roundup, Shakeaerator, power harrow, roll, drill, roll.
Example 3: Spring 2019 (below)
Roundup, power harrow twice, roll, drill, roll twice.
These methods of course carry risks associated with Leatherjackets, Frit Fly and Wireworm (as does ploughing). Leaving the field for 4-6 weeks between first cultivation and sowing would reduce the risk of frit fly and leatherjackets but wireworm however would still be a risk. These risks can be reduced by sowing a spring crop such as oats or a brassica, to break the pest’s life cycle. The same principles of non-inversion tillage can be used to establish these crops, with an easy lo-till or direct drilling of grass seed in the autumn.
Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG office, for advice of establishing a new ley with minimum cultivation successfully. Save the planet and your pocket!