Nicolas Courtois, AgriGeneve, Switzerland – 6 November – Part 2

Due to the Internet connection here in the centre of Toulouse dropping I could no longer add pictures to part one and so have had to split them. Not a split in any specific place! So this is the continuation of Nicolas Courtois

In next picture the idea is to keep the red and white clover for four years and keep as a living mulch. So crops are planted into the mulch for the coming years.

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We then went to to look at his trials for companion cropping with wheat. Some of them had only just been planted so the wheat was not easy to see.

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In the above picture is red clover with wheat. The crop had no glyphosate and he will kill the OSR with another herbicide.

The next crop of wheat was planted in August:

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He had planted it August with the same idea as Wolfgang’s barley, that the wheat would be strong-rooted and tiller well. He planted it with various other different species. Unfortunately the slugs were a problem and had thinned the wheat.

Bellow is wheat planted with lentils, Egyptian clover, vetch, beans all at the same time

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The next plot was wheat with forage peas

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The idea is that the forage peas fill the gap between the rows then are killed off by the winter and give around 20kg/ha of N.

Then was wheat with hairy vetch:

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Only just planted. The hairy vetch will stay all year and provide cover and nitrogen.

The final picture is wheat with peas and beans in separate rows to the wheat.

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The idea is in the spring the peas and beans will be killed and soya planted into the standing wheat as a double crop. This is the first year Nicolas has done trials on companion cropping with wheat. I think for us in the UK it is an important subject as wheat is our main crop.

It was a packed and fascinating day with Nicolas, and my French skills withstood the test! Nicolas was so generous with his time. To give me a personal tour around some of the trials was great and I am really glad I saw them. I also followed him over the French border a back way to avoid Friday night traffic which made my journey to Alex and Yann’s much quicker. It was really out of his way and the fourth time he had crossed the French border that day.

Thank you Nicolas: keep up the good work.

AndrewHoward

AndrewHoward

Andrew Howard farms 345ha in a family partnership near Ashford, Kent, growing winter and spring wheat, winter and spring oilseed rape, spring oats, spring barley, winter barley, and field beans. His soils range from heavy weald clay to light sand. Andrew is a committee member of BASE UK, and member of LEAF and the Institute of Agricultural Management. As a Nuffield Scholar, Andrew will study companion cropping around the world.

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