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


5 top grower mistakes with cover crops and how to avoid them

Grow cover crops effectively and they can increase soil organic matter, cycle nutrients, protect soils from erosion and increase profitability. Get it wrong and you may see poorer establishment from…


How to use active fallows to repair soils on undrilled land

Growers with land left undrilled this year should consider the use of active fallow to improve soil condition and prepare the ground for next autumn’s drillings. In an active fallow,…


How to manage fallow land hit by wet winter weather

Many growers will be forced to leave land fallow this season and, although that means no income, there are big benefits from higher crop yields in the future and herbicide…


7 ways to flood-proof soils and improve drainage

Arable growers need to follow a seven-point plan to improve their soil structure especially if, as expected, new farm support payments will depend on healthy soils. With many arable areas…

See all

Case studies


How regenerative farming cut fixed costs by 40% in first year

It is safe to say Nick Padwick isn’t looking for a long transition to farming using regenerative agricultural principles at Ken Hill Farms and Estate, near Snettisham. With an immediate…


Regenerative farming: The theory and the farmers doing it

Regenerative agriculture provokes strong opinions and passionate debate. There are those who are sceptical of the claims being made in its name, while others have completely bought into the idea…


How grower uses a carbon calculator to track no-till success

Carbon accounting is one of the measures Overbury Farms is using to gauge the success of the major agronomic changes it has made over the past decade. The move to…


How two arable farms are tackling extreme weather

Improving soil health and establishing a cover crop is helping farmers overcome the effects of extreme weather on their cropping system. The past few months have seen big swings in…

See all



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: 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…

See all



Why a farmer is establishing catch crops with a sprayer

A farmer in Lincolnshire is trialling a new way of sowing catch crops, by adapting his sprayer to sow the seed in a standing crop of vining peas. Arable farmer…


6 key findings from the AHDB's latest cover crop research

Cover crops are firmly entrenched as a core component of regenerative agriculture, but many growers are finding it difficult to know how to fit them into their rotation or, even…


Is regenerative agriculture the future of arable farming?

A growing number of farmers are overhauling their systems and are now farming in a way that has little impact on soil health, includes greater diversity and leads to more…


Top tips to achieve more resilient and sustainable soils

One of the most common questions for farmers relating to “soil health” is how best to measure it and monitor progress once they have embarked on a mission to improve…

See all



Cover crop scheme target doubled after first year success

A cover crop scheme to reduce nitrates in water has been extended to draw in more farms across parts of the south and east of England. A pilot for the…


Research shows cover crops can triple worm numbers

New research has found that growing cover crops and reducing cultivations can triple earthworm numbers, resulting in healthier soil. Earthworms are a key indicator of soil health as their activity…


Scottish cover crop trial shows lift in spring barley yields

A Scottish trial has revealed that growing cover crops can lift yields by up to 0.6t/ha in a following crop of spring barley.   The three-year trial compared crops of Concerto…


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.…

See all



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…


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.…


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…


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…

See all