Cover crop solutions to meet your objectives
Cover crop, catch crop, or “green manure” – call it what you like. Once considered to be an unconventional or alternative farming practice, cover cropping has become recognized as an essential tool in “mainstream” agriculture. The effective use of these crops is vital in maintaining or improving yields over the long term.
By definition, cover crops are plants that are selected to provide enrichment or protection to the soil. As soil concerns vary from farm to farm, cover crops are selected and blended accordingly – often ticking more than one box.
What are your objectives? The starting point to successful cover cropping is the correct identification of your soil and broader farming concerns. Cover crops need to “work” for you and fit into your management practices. Once the objectives have been identified, selecting an appropriate plant species (or mix thereof) becomes a simple task.
- Building organic matter
- Adding nutrients to the soil
- Cycling nutrients or making them available for the following crop
- Improving the soil structure
- Suppressing weeds or creeping grasses
- Suppressing nematodes
- Improving water infiltration and water holding capacity
- Reducing soil erosion – by wind or rainfall
- Reducing pests and disease
- Attracting beneficial insects
- Creating a windbreak, especially in young orchards
Central to successful long term cover crop use is the critical measurement of their effectiveness in meeting your objectives. Taking note of the “before” and “after” – whether it be by soil sample or photo, lets you fine tune your cover cropping practices season on season. It is however important to remember that the value that cover crops add can only be determined by you, the farmer – as your situation is unique.
AGT Cover Crops
082 370 4926