When the weather conditions are changeable and the short window for conventional plough and cultivation reseeding makes it difficult, then an alternative is stitching in the grass and clover seed mixtures into the existing sward.

This technique of reseeding old swards is becoming more popular with farmers as there are many benefits; the fertility is retained near the surface, the firm surface means livestock can be grazed much sooner than conventional reseeds, there is less moisture loss, the technique does not bring stones to the surface, and there is a lower power requirement for tractors to operate the machine.

William Lee, of Lee Agri Contracts, has been using the Erth Agriseeder for a number of years and is getting great results from it.

"I'd find that about 80 per cent of our reseeding is now stitching in after first- and second-cut silage. The Agriseeder cuts a slot and places the seed in a shallow channel with an hydraulic air seeder," he explained.

"This is my second Erth Agriseeder, and this one will work to different depths and has an autocontour control which follows the contours of the field."

The photographs on this page taken by John McVitty on a farm near Tempo show the machine at work on a field following a silage cut.

It will be grazed with sheep soon, both to control the regrowth of the existing sward, and to help tiller the new emerging mixture.

The manufacturers of the machine, Erth, based in Co. Down, says the Agriseeder is a flexible drill perfect for sowing clover, grass, fodder crops, cover crops, setaside mixes and cereals into existing swards or where fields have been burned off.

Lee Agri Contracts have been busy this summer with silage making and slurry spreading, but also with reseeding using various methods, and have just purchased a stone-gathering machine which is capable of lifting small stones to those the size of a five-gallon drum.

It could be a popular machine where stoney fields can be a huge problem during cultivations.