Cover Crops

Why Cover Crop?

There are many key advantages to cover cropping:

  • Increased soil organic matter
  • Improved soil structure
  • Longer work windows
  • Improved nutrient efficiency
  • Reduced fertiliser losses
  • Compliance with greening regulations
  • Specialist species/ varieties/ mixtures can be used to aid in weed and pest management
  • Key part of an integrated rotation

Getting Started

  1. Identify your key objective – what are you hoping to achieve? by trying to achieve one job at a time  you will accumulate the benefits faster.
  2. What are the impacts on your rotation?
  3. Where does it fit into the rotation?
  4. Is the seed coming from a trusted source? - seed quality and quantity is key to making this work knowing that germination and vigor is guaranteed and are free from weed contaminants.
  5. Keep it simple.

Two Star (HB)
Oil Radish & Phacelia

Using either a frost susceptible or non-frost susceptible oil radish mixed with phacelia– Phacelia is a perfect partner for the radish as it increases rooting surface area and is neutral within most rotations. Can be drilled from start of August

Two Star (DR)
Daikon Radish
& Phacelia

Similar to the HB but using a Daikon radish this is more suited to heavier sites which are more likely to stay waterlogged and slump. The phacelia is also a useful species in managing soil water.

Three Star (HB)
Oil Radish, Phacelia
& Oats

Building on from the Two star mixes the Three star again has oil radish as its core with the addition of phacelia and oats. This is to further increase root surface area and increased biomass. Can be drilled from start of August.

Three Star (DR)
Daikon Radish,
Phacelia & Oats

Based on the Daikon type radish the three star DR is designed to produce less biomass but deeper rooting– a mixture that will drill earlier in the season due to the slower development of the Daikon.

Four Star (HB)
Oil Radish, Phacelia,
Oats & Mustard

Progressing from the three star the four star has an inclusion of White mustard. Designed for drilling from mid-August– this rapid growing mix will produce a large amount of biomass even under cooler conditions.

Four Star (DR)
Daikon Radish, Phacelia,
Oats & Mustard

Like the HB version this mix is again drilled from mid-August onward, again like the DR mixes producing less biomass but deeper roots. Is well suited to heavier land and has a longer growing period due to being less frost susceptible.

Special mixtures and straight varieties are available to suit your specific needs.

For more information or advice, please contact:

Ben Freeston - 01279-658313