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Game Cover

Harlow Agricultural Merchants Ltd (HAM) have friendly trained staff who can offer you independent advice on a wide range of game cover crops. HAM have a wide range of straight and mixture available but also can also tailor make bespoke mixture to your needs.

 

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Maize

Triple Maize Blend

A blend of three different types of maize early, mid and late maturity. This will give you differing rate of maturity as cobs ripens at different times, thus providing cover all throughout the whole shooting season.

Pack Size 1 Acre Packs

“Cobless” Maize

A very late maturity with good standing ability. A cobless maize produces immature cobs that only develops to the “bright white” stage under normal conditions. Due to the late con formation it tend to be of less interested to rats and badgers that can decimate more mature cobbed varieties through the shooting season.

Pack Size 1 Acre Packs

Rapid Fire

Varieties are chosen which have very good standing ability, early vigour and a low cob carriage

Pack Size 1 Acre Packs

Sorghum

Dwarf Sorghum

Dwarf Sorghum has a short, sturdy, broad leaved stem and substantial seed-head, providing birds with warm cover throughout the shooting season. Often sown as a companion to Maize Plants Average Height 1 – 1.25m.

Sowing Rate 8kg/Acre
Pack Size 10kg

Intermediate Sorghum

Intermediate Sorghum as suggested by it's name is in between giant and dwarf in height, approx. 1.5m. Useful as a windbreak around other game cover crops, its provides pheasants and partridge with protection from overhead predators. Has an attractive seed-head.

Sowing Rate 8kg/Acre
Pack Size 10kg

Giant Sorghum

Giant Sorghum is a sorghum x sudan grass hybrid standing approximately 2 meters tall and therefore is extremely useful as a windbreak to protect more vulnerable crops. its deep rooting system enables it to withstand drought conditions. useful as a flushing crop even though it is prone to lodging later in the season.

Sowing Rate 12kg/Acre 
Pack Size 10kg

Kale

Kale is one of the most popular cover crops used today. The main advantage of kale is that it will provide good cover for the whole shooting season. Pheasants particularly like the combination of good canopy and bare ground which allows easy movement in a relatively dry environment. 

Gruner Angeliter Kale

A very tall variety with good winter hardiness. Gruner Angeliter looks to be a significant improvement in the game cover sector and has preformed extremely well even in difficult growing conditions. Its has a high leaf canopy and thick strong stem with branching, umbrella shaped canopy giving plenty of space for the other birds to move about underneath. 

Sowing Rate 1.5 – 3kg/acre 
Pack size 1kg

Golden Eye Kale (Club Root Tolerant)

Goldeye is giant type of kale especially bred for the game cover market, selected for the optimum combination of height and leaf production. It has leafy top, strong stem, good winter hardiness and good field tolerance of disease, making it the ideal choice for game cover usage. It trial conducted at the Scottish agricultural college, Aberdeen, goldeneye achieved a higher vigour score than Caledonian kale and better club root tolerance.

Sowing Rate 1.5 – 3kg/acre 
Pack size 1kg

Sovereign Kale (Club Root Tolerant)

Sovereign is a high yielding, medium-tall forage kale with good club root tolerance. In agronomic test conducted by the SAC in Aberdeen, sovereign was show to have good dry matter yields and excellent leaf-to-stem ratio and compared statistically very favourably on all counts with Caledonian ability, it has the potential to maintain good quality production over a longer usage period.

Sowing Rate 1.5 – 3kg/acre 
Pack size 1kg

Surefire Kale Blend

A combination of three excellent kale varieties to prove a tall varied canopy. This blend will give super cover over an extended period and will give second year growth with various bolting times. The flowering kale attracts insects and provides shed seed, all helping to draw both game and song birds.

45% Goldeneye
30% Gruner Angeliter
25% Sovereign 

Sowing Rate 2kg/acre 
Pack size 2kg

Other Brassicas

Forage Rape

Forage Rape is particularly useful in that it can be used as a rescue or catch crop, continuing until the new year when it flowers and goes to seed. A well grown crop with adequate spacing between rows will provide good cover for holding, driving and feeding. It is largely unaffected by frost and wet weather. 

Sowing rate 2.5 – 4kg/acre 
Pack size 5kg

Fodder Radish

A fast growing cover crop, its prime usefulness being where brassica sickness is a problem due to its immunity to the disease. Other qualities are it seed of establishment which aids weed suppression, and its use as a green manure crop. Due to its fast growth it is valuable as a replacement for failed crops. Fodder radish is not winter hardy but continues to provide cover right through the season. In addition it holds it seed in pods which shed in late winter / early spring, thus providing feed during that all important "hungry gap".

Sowing rate 2.5kg/Acre 
Pack 10kg

Texsel Greens (Brassica Carinata)

Texsel greens are a fast growing, shiny leaved brassica developed from Ethiopian mustard. They are easy to establish and provide frost hardy cover, producing a broken canopy which is great for flushing birds. their rapid growth is ideal for suppressing weeds and they are often used as a patching crop when spring crop have failed.

Sowing rate 2 – 3kg/acre 
Pack size 2kg

White Mustard

A relatively inexpensive and highly versatile cover crop either sown alone or as a companion to other species. It is ideal for early cover and although killed off by frost, the fallen woody stems will create shelter for the birds below. This is especially useful when sown with seed producing species which alone would provide no cover. Popular as a green manure crop. 

Sowing rate 5kg/Acre 
Pack size 10kg or 25kg bags

Overdrive

A superb combination of winter hardy cover provided by the kale and high quality feed provided by the Quinoa. This mixture is excellent for holding birds.

50% Quinoa
50% Goldeneye Kale

Sowing rate 2.5kg/acre 
Pack Size 2.5kg

 

Straight Millets

White Millet

White Millet is best suited to more southerly regions of the UK as it is a sunshine loving plat and is not frost hardy, It provides warmth, shelter and feed for game birds and will attract wild seed-eating bird such as finches. Millet is particularly attractive to grey and red-legged partridges and if sown alone can be used for early holding cover. When required to last longer into the season it performs well if sown with maize but will combine well with a variety of other game cover crops. 

Sowing rate 5kg/acre 
Pack size 5kg untreated

Red Millet

Red Millet is earlier maturing than white millet and does not stand well when sown alone. However it is a good partner to use with white millet as it extends the feeding period. As with other millets it is susceptible to frost. 

Sowing rate 5kg/acre 
Pack size 10kg untreated

Japanese Reed Millet

Japanese Reed Millet is a strong plant that other members of the millet family and is more winter hardly. When mixed with white millet it provides an excellent cover and feed crop.

Sowing rate 5kg/acre 
Pack size 10kg untreated

Millet Mixtures

Ambush Millet Mix

Ambush Millet Mix is a combination of white millet, red millet and Japanese reed millet. The reed millet being a strong plant and more winter hardly provides cover while the white millet produces plentiful seed to hold the birds in the cover. It is an ideal mixture for use as a wind-proof belt on the outside of a block of maize or as a flushing point’s at the end of the maize.

40% White Millet
35% Red Millet
25% Japanese Reed Millet

Sowing rate 5kg/acre 
Pack size 10kg untreated

Millgame Millet Mix

Millgame millet mix uses both red and white millet and is useful as the red matures earlier than the white, therefore extending the feeding period. This mixtures can produce huge amounts of high protein feed per acre and when combined with maize creates an excellent cover feed crop.

50% White Millet
50% Red Millet

Sowing rate 5kg/acre 
Pack size 10kg untreated

Sunflowers

Not only does sunflower provide good food and coverage for your game bird but it also provides huge benefits to a wide range of wildlife. Sunflower prove a highly nutritious seed of a high oil content which is loved by all game and song birds, not forgetting the nectar that is great importance to bees and other insects.

Standard Sunflower (Large)

Variable height generally around 6ft. For best utilisation of this crop it should be “swiped down" to enable game birds to reach the nutritious seed. 

Sowing Rate 5kg/acre 
Pack size 10kg Untreated

Dwarf Sunflower

A Short hybrid variety generally round 3 – 4ft in height with good standing ability. The seed-heads tend to be larger than those of the standard type. These are also best "swiped down" to enable the game bird to reach the large nutritious seed. 

Sowing Rate 5kg/acre 
Pack size 1 Acre (5kg) Fungicide Treated

Straights

Quinoa

Quinoa is capable of producing a plentiful amount of seed and therefore is a popular choice of crop for holding partridge and pheasants. Many Species of seed eating song birds are also attracted to the crop. Commonly grown with kale, Quinoa provides cover and feed until it begins to collapse in the first frost with kale providing more permanent cover. 

Sowing rate 2kg/Acre 
Pack size 2kg

Phacelia

A prolific seeder, very fast to establish and good weed suppressant. It produces a mass of sweet smelling purple flowers providing a good source of nectar and seeds beneficial to a large variety of insects. It is not winter hardy and therefore for game cover it is best sown as part of a mixture. Phacelia is likely to set seed and reseed itself for many years to come. 

Sowing Rate 3-4kg/Acre 
Pack size 1kg, 5kg or 10kg

Borage

Borage, also known as starflower, is an annual herb, growing to a height of 2-3ft with bright blue flowers; there is also a white flowered variation. The crop was traditionally grown for culinary and medicinal uses, although the crop is commercially grown to day for it oil content. 

Sowing rate 5kg/Acre 
Pack size 5kg

Buckwheat

A rapidly growing short term crop highly attractive to pheasants, partridge and deer both as cover and feed. The large amount of nectar produced attracts bees and other beneficial insects which in turn provide added interest for game birds. It is useful component to add to mixtures due to its bulkiness and its ability to continue to provide holding cover and feed after the first frost when the crop has fallen. Buckwheat thrives best in the sun rather than shaded areas. 

Sowing rate 20kg/Acre 
Pack size 10kg

Gold of Pleasure

Another crop well suited well suited to poorer and nutrient deficient soils. It is a fast maturing free-branching plant producing a seed very attractive to birds, especially partridge. A useful mixture for exposed areas is produced by combing Fold of Pleasure with Triticale, barley and linseed. 

Sowing rate 5kg/Acre 
Pack size 5kg

White Mustard

A relatively inexpensive and highly versatile cover crop either sown alone or as a companion to other species. It is ideal for early cover and although killed off by frost, the fallen woody stems will create shelter for the birds below. This is especially useful when sown with seed producing species which alone would provide no cover. Popular as a green manure crop. 

Sowing rate 5kg/Acre 
Pack size 10kg or 25kg bags

Linseed

Traditionally grown for its oil, Linseed had become very popular in recent years as game cover and is particularly attractive to partridge. It is an easy to grow crop and is tolerant of many soil types, performing well on thinner soils. Although not frost hardy it will continue to provide cover and interest well into the winter especially if sown as part of a mixture. It is also another option where Brassicas sickness has been a problem.

Sowing rate 25kg/acre 
Pack size 25kg untreated

Triticale

A wheat/rye hybrid cereal providing good cover and feed in marginal low fertility areas where it will thrive with little input. Useful in situations where maize and millets are not options and where brassica sickness is a problem. Further important advantages are its ability to withstand rabbit attack, its winter hardiness and good disease resistance. 

Sowing 50kg/Acre 
Pack size 25kg

Longer Term Crops

Canary Grass (PHALARIS AQUATICA)

Canary Grass provides excellent medium to long term nesting cover for pheasant and partridge can be used to both hold and drive birds. It is useful in area where annual planting is not an option, either because it is uneconomic or too difficult and is a good choice to use between tree rows in newly established woods. Care must be taken to drill in wide enough rows to prevent the canary grass becoming too dense and therefore impassable for the birds. Annual management should be undertaken to keep the rows clear and topping is beneficial if the grass becomes too tall, with the debris being removed. 

Sowing rate 2.5kg/acre 
Pack size 1 acre untreated

Reed Canary Grass (PHALARIS ARUNDINACEA)

Reed Canary Grass is similar to Phalaris Aquatica but it is more suitable for use in exposed northern regions as it is a much hardier plant and will tolerate a wide range of soil types. It not only offers nesting and cover to pheasants but also provides wild birds with nesting sites. The crop is purely for cover and does not provide feed so bare patches may be left unplanted or later cut out to provide areas for artificial feeding. As with phalaris aquatica drilling in wide rows in necessary rather than broadcasting or the crop will become too dense and annual management should be undertaken to keep the rows clear. Topping is beneficial if it becomes too tall, with the debris removed. 

Sowing rate 2.5kg/acre 
Pack size 1 acre untreated

Perennial Chicory

Creates tall, dense cover, bolting in its second year to create a 6-7ft flowering hedge, useful where a perimeter barrier is required. It has good tolerance to drought, acid soils and major pests (does not like wet ground) and has a high mineral content including Zinc, Potassium and Copper. 

Sowing rate 2kg/Acre 
Pack size 2kg

Yellow Blossom Clover

A biennial plant which can persist for several years due to its self-regenerating properties. Owing to it sweet smell and copious production of nectar it is highly attractive to insects, which in turn attract game birds and wildlife. Sowing with kale will help to provide cover in the first year, with tall woody-stemmed taking over in the second year. Yellow Blossom Sweet Clover can thrive in the poorest of soils and being leguminous and deep rooting it is invaluable for improving soil structure and fertility. 

Sowing rate 2.5kg / Acre 
Pack size 1kg

Game Cover Mixtures

Our range of readymade game cover mixtures are specially formulated to ensure you will be able to achieve the best from your game cover crops.

Traditional Game Cover Mixture

Traditional mixture of species specially selected for their feed and cover qualities. This mixture is designed for a full season of cover for all game birds. The sunflowers ass an attractive splash of colour. Due to the variance in seed size, broadcast to achieve optimum establishment and ensure that treated seed is covered by harrowing and rolling. 

Game Maize 
White Millet 
Red Millet 
Buckwheat 
Kale 
Sunflower 
White Millet 
Forage Rape 

Sowing rate 10kg/Acre 
Pack Size 10kg Various Seed Treatments

General Purpose Rearing Pen

Mix a mixture of species which provides a perfect rearing / Release pen mixture. This Mixture establishes rapidly and forms a hardwearing sward which will withstand intensive stocking. The legumes included will fix nitrogen and attract insects. 

Amenity perennial Ryegrass 
Late Perennial Ryegrass 
Timothy 
Meadow Fescue 
Creeping Red Fescue 
Birdsfoot Trefoil 
White Clover 

Sowing rate 15kg/Acre 
Pack Size 15kg

Partridge Mixture

A very Hardy Mixture that thrives on colder, poorer soils. This mixture has an open canopy that encourages and hold partridges and is useful as a break crop from kale. 

Spring Triticale 
Spring Barley 
Linseed 
Gold of Pleasure 
Kale 

Sowing rate 25kg/Acre 
Pack size 25kg

Decoy Game Mixture

A combination of six small seed producing species which will provide excellent cover and feed and will last throughout the season. It is easy to sow and establish as all the seeds are are of similar size and offers an excellent alternative to our traditional game cover mixture. 

Linseed 
Buckwheat 
Red Millet 
White Millet 
Fodder Radish 
Mustard 

Sowing rate 8kg/acre 
Pack size 8kg

Overdrive

A superb combination of winter hardy cover provided by the kale and high quality feed provided by the Quinoa. This mixture is excellent for holding birds.

50% Quinoa 
50% Goldeneye Kale 

Sowing rate 2.5kg/acre 
Pack Size 2.5kg

Late Cover and Rescue Mixtures

Our range of late game cover mixtures are specially formulated to ensure you will be able to achieve the best from your cover crops.

Late Cover Mix

A rapidly establishing and maturing mixture proving winter cover to the height of 2 – 3 feet. It is often used as a patching crop where spring crops have failed. This mixture will tolerate drought conditions.

Forage Rape
Stubble Turnip
Mustard
Fodder Radish 

Sowing Rate 5kg/Acre 
Pack size 5kg

Kwik Fix

This is a flexible cover crop which can be used to patch failed spring game cover. Mustard increases the cover element and fodder radish prolongs the cover period. This mixture will not provide full season cover, but it is more winter hardy than straight mustard.

Fodder Radish
White Mustard

Sowing Rate 5kg/Acre 
Pack size 5kg