Complete: Maximising the benefits from cover crops through species selection and crop management (Maxi-Cover Crop)

Timescale: 2016 - 2019
Project Lead: Dr Anne Bhogal
Project Sponsor: AHDB and BBRO

Project Summary

This project aims to maximise the potential economic, agronomic and ecological benefits from cover crops through a better understanding of species effects and crop management technologies. Specifically to: 1) Quantify the effects of different cover crops on soil properties, crop rooting and yield; 2) Validate the effects of different cover crop mixtures and new cultivation/destruction technologies on Monitor Farms; 3) Update cover crops guidance; 4) Transfer knowledge of the project findings to growers, industry and academia.

Main Objectives

  1. Follow the effect of the cover crop treatments at the large plot and tramline trials established in autumn 2017 on the yield of the current spring crop (harvest 2018) and following winter crop.
  2. Assess soil physical (structure), biological (earthworms) and chemical (organic matter) properties at these sites in spring 2019
  3. Evaluate the legacy effects of the cover crop treatments at the Cambridgeshire large plot trial and 2016 tramline trials on soil properties and the yield of the winter crop

Complete a cost-benefit analysis for all of the trial sites.

Latest Report

Previous Reports

Outcomes / Key Message For Growers And Industry

Early establishment of cover crops is essential to ensure good cover and maximum benefits.

Increased rooting in the cover crop may result in increased rooting in the following spring crop in situations where the spring crop established well. This will need to be confirmed by on-going work

Cover cropping can result in increased moisture retention in the topsoil, which may impede establishment of the following spring crop

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BBRO is a not for profit making company.
We are set up jointly by British Sugar plc and the National Farmers' Union.

British Sugar
National Farmers' Union