Know How / Cover crops

Get advice on the best cover crop mixture to improve the fertility and structure of your soil. Choices may be vetch, phacelia, mustard, oats or oil radish depending on the needs of your soil. See when the time is right to kill off your cover crops ready for drilling the next crop.

Advice and tips

COVER CROPS

3 factors to consider when grazing cover crops with sheep

Sheep grazing can be a very effective way of terminating cover crops. However, getting it wrong can lead to problems including soil damage and uneven crop establishment resulting from uneven…

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

Why cultural control is key to keeping potato blight at bay

The strains of blight that potato growers face in protecting their crops are becoming ever more aggressive, as only the fittest survive. A good example is the recent strain 36A2.…

COVER CROPS

How a Dorset farmer grows cost-effective cover crops

Dorset grower John Martin, together with Kings Seeds, has designed his own cover crop mix, which provides the maximum benefit to his calcareous soils while also being cost-effective. He was…

BARLEY

Tips on getting high spring barley yields in a tough season

Late drilling, followed by a hot, dry summer, meant spring cereal crops struggled on many farms in 2018, although some spring barley growers managed to deliver yields exceeding 8t/ha. A…

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Case studies

COVER CROPS

Essex arable farmer tries out easycare sheep

A new breed of easycare sheep that naturally sheds its wool and has good resistance to worms has convinced an Essex grower to reintroduce livestock into her arable rotation. The…

BLACKGRASS

How Oxfordshire farmer cleaned up a bad blackgrass problem

Piers Cowling manages 1,170ha of variable soils in a renowned blackgrass hot spot, and six years ago he realised that radical changes were necessary if he was to continue growing…

COVER CROPS

Long-term benefits of cover crops examined on Suffolk farm

Early destruction of cover crops is essential to allow a following spring crop to be successfully drilled and established, especially as these over-winter crops are tipped to become more important…

BARLEY

Lincs grower uses seaweed to hit malting barley grade

Marcus Palmer is using cover crops and seaweed bio-stimulants to grow high yields of low-grain nitrogen barley in what many would consider non-traditional malting barley territory. The fertile silt lands…

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Community

ARABLE

Farmer Focus: Cover crops v blackgrass control

One of my favourite meals is bangers and mash, but I definitely don’t like mush. When the first “Beast from the East” roared in, it certainly dried out the soils.…

FARMER FOCUS

Farmer Focus: Arable fixed costs are too high

All winter cereal crops seem to have grown in the past month. They may have been helped by the 250mm of snow we experienced a fortnight before Christmas. With some…

ARABLE

Farmer Focus: Playing the long game with cover crops

Planting of our summer crops is in full swing here in South Africa. It might be summer but on 17 November we had a frost. Fortunately, my maize was young…

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Insights

ARABLE

Can arable farming and wildlife conservation work together?

Farming is coming under greater pressure to halt the decline in wildlife. A major government project hopes to provide some of the answers in coming years, by balancing greater diversity with…

SOILS

How three growers hope to improve soil health in Yorkshire

A recently launched initiative aimed at improving the health of Yorkshire’s arable soils is already seeing success, with dozens of farmers growing more than 400ha of cover crops for the…

ARABLE

How US farmers are tackling pollution in the Gulf of Mexico

Nutrient run-off from agricultural land is being blamed for the vast oceanic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and farmers have responded by adopting measures more commonly seen in…

ARABLE

How 'conservation agriculture' can improve soil health

Adopting the fundamental principles of “conservation agriculture” has huge potential for nursing depleted arable soils back to health and correct implementation is key to its success. Conservation agriculture is defined…

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News

COVER CROPS

Cover crops can lift sugar beet yields, research shows

Research on the role of cover crops in sugar beet rotations suggests they can be a useful tool, but further on-farm development and refinement will be needed for individual situations.…

PEST MANAGEMENT

Research shows cover crops don’t lead to more slugs

Growing cover crops does not increase slug pressure in the following spring crop, according to new research. There has been anecdotal evidence that establishing a cover crop will lead to…

PAYMENTS, SCHEMES AND GRANTS

Record number of farmers tender for cover crop funding

A record number of farmers have bid for funding to grow cover crops over winter and help protect water quality. United Utilities’ online reverse auction allowed Cheshire farmers, who own…

DRILLING

Video: Min-till drill-off the highlight of Cereals 2018

Cereals show-goers were treated to a drill-off at this year’s event, giving them chance to see how five different low soil-disturbance systems deal with the challenge of a cover crop.…

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Video

COVER CROPS

Video: Crimper trial aims to kill cover crops without herbicides

The holy grail of crimping is for cover crops to slowly die into a weed-supressing mat, covering the soil without the use of chemical sprays or the plough. For an…

DRILLING

Video: Min-till drill-off the highlight of Cereals 2018

Cereals show-goers were treated to a drill-off at this year’s event, giving them chance to see how five different low soil-disturbance systems deal with the challenge of a cover crop.…

COVER CROPS

Video: 5 key points for destroying your cover crops

Timing is key when killing off cover crops with one expert suggesting a herbicide needs to be used some three to four weeks before a spring crop is drilled. Some…

ESTABLISHMENT

Video: Advice on autumn establishment and weed control

There are four core factors that determine the success of an autumn established wheat crop – soil and seed-bed quality, weed control, timing and herbicide application. Laying the foundations of…

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