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

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…

SOILS

5 tips to successfully convert to a no-till system

Adopting conservation agriculture can involve many highs and lows. We asked independent biological farming expert Mike Harrington to share his five top tips on how to make it a smoother process.…

COVER CROPS

How to pick the right cover crop mix this autumn

Interest in cover crops in the UK has been on a steep upward trajectory for several years, driven by their ability to right some of the environmental wrongs in cropping…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How to get more from your on-farm crop trials

By taking some practical steps to trial design, one researcher believes farmers can improve the robustness of their tramline and split field trials, leading to more informed cropping decisions. In…

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Case studies

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…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Farm manager's drought action plan results in 15% yield lift

Simon Eddell has spent the past seven years looking to improve his light Suffolk soils to cope with summer droughts, and the result is healthier crops and wheat yields up…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Youngest-ever Duchy tenant switches to precision farming

Ally Hunter Blair is a young man in a hurry. The youngest-ever tenant of a Duchy of Cornwall farm is trying out new crops, embracing precision farming and working on…

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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

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…

ARABLE

How companion crops can slash inputs by 30%

Growing more than one crop could play a valuable role on UK farms, through raising yields and slashing the need for inputs, and it may even help solve problems such as barley…

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News

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.…

HARVEST

Video: Drilling OSR companion crop follows early wheat harvest

Drilling a companion crop is the order of the day for Cambridgeshire grower David White as soon as early-maturing winter wheat is cut on his light soils. He is sowing…

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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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