First report on the cover crop try-out
The try-out has been in exactly a month now and you can really start to see the differences as you look across it. The first plot is Kings EFA Cheap Mix which seems to be largely mustard based, sown at 22kg/ha.
The second plot is Kings long-term cover mix sown at 25kg/ha and is currently providing modest cover.
The third plot is DSV terralife betamaxx sown at 30-35kg/ha which is a mixture of clover, radish, pea, phacelia, niger, oat and vetch, again cover is currently modest.
The fourth plot is Kings Oil Radish sown at 20kg/ha. It’s giving great ground cover already – equal to the control surrounding the try-out.
The fifth plot is DSV terralife rigol sown at 20-22kg/ha. It contains radish, oat, sunflower, clover, phacelia, linseed, buckwheat, flax and serradella. This currently has the lowest amount of ground cover but there’s a long way to go yet!
The sixth plot is DSV terralife biomax which contains the same species as plot 5 with the addition of some mustard. This mix was drilled at 20-25kg/ha.
The final picture is of the control surround – a Kings mustard sown at 14kg/ha.
This has been our standard green manure used on the farm since 2010. We have been impressed with what is has delivered for our soil structure, organic matter, crop nutrition and black-grass control so far and every year we have increased the area so I’m excited to see what these more complex mixes can offer us.
We were the ‘hot’ of the hotspot for flea beetle last year and this year they have still been extremely active so what you see in the pictures has had massive exposure to flea beetle and stood up to it very well. We have not given the try-out any slug pellets, insecticides or herbicides – we are treating it exactly as we would one of our own green manures. The field was vaderstad carrier-ed once, before drilling with a vaderstad disc drill. The previous wheat straw was chopped.
The try-out will continue to grow on and we hope it will hang on to be grazed by our Romneys in late Jan / Early Feb. I will keep you updated…