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Cover Crop / Catch Crop

Your Cover Crop can consist of a single crop or be used as a mixture.

Choosing the correct species is key when it comes to a cover crop. Think about what you are trying to achieve weather its soil conditioning, drying out wet fields or putting back organic matter back into the soil. Also think about what's in the rotation for example having Brassica to close in a rotation could increase your risk of club root developing.

Harlow Agricultural Merchants can advise and help you make bespoke mixture tailored to your needs.

 

 

Benefits of a Covers / Catch Crop

  • Weed suppressant
  • Longer work windows
  • Improved soil structure
  • Increased soil organic matter
  • Improved nutrient efficiency
  • Key part of an integrated rotation
  • Reduced fertiliser losses / leaching
  • Compliance with greening regulations
  • Can be used as part as your Integrated Pest Management

Cover Crops Species (Non EFA)

Triticale
Barley
Oats
Niger
Phacelia
Mustard
Vetch
Oil Radish
Clover
Buckwheat
Borage

EFA Compliant Species

Barley
Oats
Forage Rye
Phacelia
Mustard
Vetch
Fodder Radish
Ryegrass

EFA Winter Cover Crops (CCS SW6)

Requirements for Mid-Tier or Higher Tier Option

This option cannot be used from 1 January 2019, on land already receiving funding for Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) declared for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)

Establish a quick-growing cover crop by 15th September that will provide a dense cover and protect the land from soil erosion and runoff
Destroy the cover crop in late January or early February, a maximum of 6 weeks before establishing the following spring crop. When weather conditions delay establishment of a spring crop, the cover crop can be left until mid-March.

Do not: Apply any fertilisers or manures

Key Points

  • Cover Crops Establish by 15th September, This is so it can take up soil nitrate before winter drainage or water leaches below the depth of the developing plant.
  • You can establish you Cover or Catch crop by drilling or broadcasting but a suitable sowing rate should be used to provide a dense cover and protect from soil erosion and maintain soil structure.
  • Cover Crop should be destroy in late January or February, before it is too well developed (if left too late nitrate leaching may increase the following winter)
  • You can use glyphosate to help with the destruction prior to cultivations

**Update from BPS for 2018 ** Complete ban of plant protection products on Ecological Focus Area (EFA) Fallow land, EFA Catch and Cover Crops and EFA Nitrogen-Fixing crops.


To find out latest and most up to date information regarding EFA Cover Crops please visit:

www.gov.uk/countryside-stewardship-grants/winter-cover-crops-sw6

EFA Catch Crops

EFA catch crops must be maintained for a minimum of 8 weeks starting on 20 August and must be retained until at least 14 October. The period for EFA cover crops remains at 1 October to 15 January of the following year.

Do not: Apply any fertilisers or manures

Key Points

  • Catch Crops Establish by 20th August and must be retained until at least 14th October.
  • You can establish you Cover or Catch crop by drilling or broadcasting but a suitable sowing rate should be used to provide a dense cover and protect from soil erosion and maintain soil structure.

**Update from BPS for 2018 ** Complete ban of plant protection products on Ecological Focus Area (EFA) Fallow land, EFA Catch and Cover Crops and EFA Nitrogen-Fixing crops.

For the latest up-to-date information regarding EFA's Please Visit:

www.gov.uk/cap-reform

AB12: Supplementary winter feeding for farmland birds

Requirements

  • spread the supplementary feed mixture specified in the agreement at an average rate of 25kg on the ground, at least once a week from 1 December until 30 April, at each of two separate feeding locations
  • select feeding areas that are firm and free-draining, such as farm tracks or hard standing areas, and in close proximity to enhanced overwinter stubbles, game cover or wild bird seed mixtures

Do not:

  • use hoppers to supply more than 10% of the total amount of feed provided during the specified feeding period
  • use tailings (small seeds and chaff removed from the harvested crop) as supplementary feed

What seed mix to use

The ideal mix should be a maximum of 70% cereal (wheat, barley, oats, triticale) and 30 or 40 of white millet, red millet, linseed, oil seed rape, canary seed, nyger seed, sunflower hearts (which can be bought in). A mix of 40% naked oats, 30% wheat, 20% millet and 10% oilseed rape has provided good results on some farms.

Wild Bird Feed Range

keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • details of the mixture used (weight of components and cost)
  • dates of feeding
  • method of feeding (hopper or spreading)
  • amount of feed
  • the location of the feeding areas

On your annual claim you will be asked to declare that you haven’t carried out any activities prohibited by the option requirements.

Manage how and when to supplementary feed

Having 2ha of AB9 Winter bird food in the agreement allows 1 tonne of supplementary feed to be spread each year, split equally between 2 feeding stations, so 500kg per year per feeding station. Where less than 2ha of AB9 is put into the agreement, a pro-rata amount of AB12 can be included. For example, the minimum area allowed of AB9 is 0.4ha. This would allow 200kg of AB12 to be included, spread equally between two feeding stations, so 100kg per year per feeding station.

Supplementary feeding should start before the sown winter bird food runs out. This keeps farmland birds using the areas and prevents a dip in their winter condition.

Distribute enough supplementary food to match the birds’ consumption, so that seed is not left uneaten. This will ensure that a fresh supply of food is maintained, which will keep birds healthy and reduce any rodent problems. This is particularly important when ground feeding, or if hoppers are left unprotected.

Feed twice a week so that no food is left by the second day after feeding. As well as reducing rodents this will cut down on the use of the supplementary feed areas by crows and pigeons. Feed should be well spread out on the areas chosen, rather than left in piles.

Prepare to be flexible, so that if the winter period is extended through bad weather, the amount of feeding planned can be adjusted and extended for any additional days or weeks that are needed. This ensures that birds are not left with a ‘hungry gap’ before the natural seed resources on the farm become available.

For the lastest up-to-date information regarding AB12: Supplementary winter feeding for farmland birds, please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/countryside-stewardship-grants/supplementary-winter-feeding-for-farmland-birds-ab12