‘Rye grass is not great in dry conditions but we are now seeing more farmers growing herbal leys…’
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Mark Smith of FWAG talks about farmers turning to herbal leys to as an alternative to rye grass and the benefits of the crop, such as their drought tolerance, the environmentally friendly nature of the crop and the medicinal qualities to the animals that feed on it.
Rye grasses are not great under dry conditions but we’re seeing a huge amount of interest, in the last sort of five six seven years, in herbal leys. So farmers are growing a variety of crops – so it would have a bit of grass in it – but often herbal ley mixes will include chicory which is really deep rooting. So they’re less…they’re more drought-tolerant these herbal leys and I deal with a farmer through a contract we’ve got one of the supermarket’s that their land always tries out in summer and they’ve, just in the past five years or so, they’ve increased probably by 70% the amount of the herbal leys that they grow. Even this year they performed really well under the dry, you know, really dry conditions. Herbal ley mix is more expensive than a straight rye grass seed mix. So there’s a bit of additional costs there. But I think it can definitely pay off. Yeah, I mean there are all sorts of other benefits. These are great for improving soil structure, you know, they’ve got medicinal qualities and all sorts.