Cover crops

Cover crops are fast growing annuals which, planted between two cash crops, have the ability to boost yields as well as deliver financial savings.

A wide range of cover crops, including straights and mixtures, can be planted immediately after harvest. Left to grow all winter, they harvest sunshine and produce organic matter, which is then incorporated into the soil before the crops are destroyed in early spring to make way for the new crop. This boosts soil health too, providing food for micro organisms and worms and improving the whole soil biota.

Cover crop benefits include:

• Improvements in soil structure and health; fundamental to improving yields for root crops as well as cereals and rape
• Greater nitrogen efficiency
• Higher yielding cash crops
• Increased organic matter and soil biota
• Financial savings
• Compliance with CAP greening requirements
• Reduction in soil borne pests, such as beet cyst nematode
• Livestock grazing
• Reduced spring cultivations provide a direct drill opportunity
• Weed and disease suppression, including black-grass reduction

To achieve maximum results, several factors must be considered when choosing a cover crop, including target benefits, planting date, following crop timings, soil type, location and the rotation as a whole. Expert advice is essential in making the right decision.

Kings offers unrivalled technical advice and support. We can help select a cover crop, or discuss a custom made mixture, that will suit your farms needs, safely fit into your rotation, save on nitrogen costs and increase your yields.

Kings is heavily involved in on farm testing and evaluation of cover crops and we produce all our own mixtures, which are fully proven in the UK.

To arrange a farm visit or for advice on specific situations, please contact us.

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