Effectively comply with greening and other requirements
The planting of catch crops represents a permanent component of successful crop cultivation. They form humus, protect against erosion, conserve and mobilise nutirents and sustainably safeguard the fertility of the soil. At present, catch crops also play a large role in connection with the EU agricultural reform, namely Greening.
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They represent a possible measure for creation the required priority conservation areas. Apart from requirements relating to sowing date, the use of fertilisers and plant protection agents and the date of the next use or soil processing, there are also special requirements with regard to the seed mix.
The AGRAVIS topsoil range offers numerous greening catch crop mixes that have been developed in accordance with the specific requirements of various crop rotations. Depending on the respective general arable and phytosanitary conditions, the suitable catch crop mix can be selected for each catch crop situation.
Concrete cultivation tips
From a phytosanitary perspective, the requirements for catch crops are low for cultivating maize and grain catch crops. In the foreground there is fast and balanced growth both below and above ground, with the associated positive effects. The composition of the topsoil Kornpro EU aids with rapid closure of the vegetation cover and combines shallow and deep rooters, in order to facilitate an optimum development of different soil depths. As a result, weeds are suppressed, nutrients conserved for the catch crop and an an optimum soil condition created for the subsequent main crop.
There should not be any cruciferous plants in the mix for the catch crop cultivation within the rapeseed rotation, so that catch crop diseases such as cylindrosporium, sclerotinia and in particular clubroot are avoided. In this context, the topsoil Multitalent EU is particularly suitable. Despite the omission of cruciferous plants, this mixture is characterised by a very high nutrient acquisition capacity and is therefore ideally suitable for cultivating maize and summer grain. Topsoil Nitropro EU is also a cruciferous-free mix suitable for use within the rapeseed rotation. As a result of the high proportion of legumes in the mixture and the associated microbial nitrogen fixing, the cultivation offers an interesting solution for farms that do not use commercial fertilisers.
Sugar beet and potato rotations
With regard to the use of catch crops in sugar beet and potato rotations, the focus is on nematode control and for potatoes also the associated transfer of virus-caused rust spots. Beet cyst nematodes (Heterodera schachtii) are effectively controlled with the cultivation of the topsoil Nemafern EU as a result of the nematode-resistant fodder radish and mustard varieties. The nematode larvae are first attracted out of the cysts by root secretions, but the reproduction cycle is interrupted by the insufficient nutrient base and the further development of the nematodes is hindered. As a result of this resistance mechanism, the nematode population in the soil is considerably reduced, depending on the duration of the growth period.
For biological nematode control in potato cultivation, the topsoil Solapro EU offers a combination of coarse oats and multi-resistant fodder radish. Migrating root nematode (Pratylenchus penetrans) and root-gall nematodes (Meloidogyne ssp.) are actively reduced. Neutral behaviour towards potato (Globodera ssp.) and teichodorus nematodes leads to a natural reduction in pests, as a result of which the transfer of the tobacco-rattle-virus and therefore the virus-caused rust spots in potatoes is reduced.
Greening-capable catch crop mixes
By using certain hardy components, it is also possible to use the growth in spring with a greening-capable catch crop mix. The mixture topsoil Landsberger EU meets the requirements for a catch crop mix as priority nature conservation area and is equally suitable, because of its tried and tested components, for use as cattle feed with an excellent nutrient value and as high quality biogas substrate. In order to guarantee a sufficient establishment of the plant stock, sowing should take place if possible by 20th September at the latest.
If the catch crop does not have to be greening-suitable, and instead the aim is merely to achieve a high yield and high energy meadow in spring, the use of topsoil Winterfest is recommended instead. The high proportion of forage rye combined with lower proportions of ryegrass and legumes guarantees a high energy yield with simultaneously good digestibility and biogas yield. The two hardy topsoil mixtures are suitable for all crop rotations and are characterised by a particularly high humus formation because of the long vegetation period.
Suitable solutions for each situation
Ultimately, it can be said that the suitable solution is available even within the framework of the greening requirements for catch crop mixes. The catch crop cultivation offers many possibilities for arranging crop cultivation successfully and should not be seen as a necessary evil in order to maintain agricultural subsidies.
More information about catch crops is available from Thomas Husemann, Tel. 0251 . 682-2066, firstname.lastname@example.org, from other contact partners at AGRAVIS crop cultivation consulting and in our Greening department.