Plant greening catch crops now
Since 2015, farmers have to fulfil what are known as the greening requirements for the first time in order to receive full area payments as part of EU agricultural support. Alongside cultural diversification, the requirements also included creation of what are known as ecological priority areas which should take up at least 5 per cent of agricultural land. Amongst potential measures, catch crop cultivation is being particularly frequently used this year. The deadline for sowing is until the end of September. AGRAVIS expert Thomas Husemann provides an overview.
- Bildmaterial zum Content
What should be taken into account for the correct catch crop for greening?
Husemann: Initially, the catch crop mix must only contain permissible types where no single type must comprise more than 60 per cent of the mixture when measured by seed content. Our topsoil catch crop mixes with the "EU" suffix satisfy these requirements and can be used as a greening catch crop. In addition, there is always the option of mixing your own catch crop in accordance with corresponding regulations. In general, when selecting a suitable mixture the crop rotation and the cultivation system should be taken into account in order to avoid serious errors such as, for example, mustard in rape crop rotations.
Many farmers have already carried out sowing. What must be taken into account when you would like to sow a greening catch crop during the next few weeks?
Husemann: In order for the catch crop stock to have sufficient time to develop and to trigger positive effects on soil fertility, then sowing must not be too late. If possible, sowing should be complete in August, depending on the composition of the mixture. However, if it is somewhat later, then cruciferous plants and grasses are particularly suitable for late sowing. For example, topsoil kornpro EU can still be sowed using at least 20 kilogrammes per hectare from the beginning until the middle of September. It should be explained that in this context, namely that in Lower Saxony the greening catch crop must have achieved ground cover of at least 40 per cent by 20 October – so better to sow promptly.
With sowing, the technology is just as important as the correct mixture. What should be taken into account?
Husemann: Various methods are available for catch crop sowing. The safest method is the seed drill with a mechanical or pneumatic sowing machine. In the meantime, the catch crop sowing can also be combined with tillage at a similar level. A pneumatic seeder is prepared on the cultivator or the disc harrow, which evenly and reliably scatters the seed in front of the trailing roller by means of baffle plates. Several trials have shown that this variant only requires an approximately 10 per cent higher seed dose for the same field emergence compared to the seed drill. The widespread sowing method of using a spreader is relatively susceptible to wind and should be used with light-sprouting types, as can be found in topsoil kornpro EU or topsoil waterprotect EU.