10 advantages of catch crop
1. Formation of humus
- The introduction of organic substances by cultivating catch crop increases the humus content of the soil and promotes the microbial activity and live-digestion in the soil. The soil fertility is increased and maintained. The longer the vegetation period, the greater the humus formation.
2. Erosion protection
- The continual ground cover protects the soil from wind and water erosion.
3. Soil improvement
- Catch crop establish roots deeper and more extensively than most main fruits in a short period of time. Soil compaction can thus be loosened and nutrition sources from deeper soil layers can be accessed. The water capacity as well as the condition of the soil are improved.
4. Nutrient conservation
- The nutrients remaining in the soil after harvest are preserved in the organic substance of catch crop and are released again in spring for the subsequent crop once the catch crop has died off.
5. Nitrate erosion
- Nitrate which is very mobile in the soil is absorbed by catch crop, which reduces the nitrate erosion. The nitrate stored in the catch crop is thus available for the subsequent culture in spring.
6. Weed suppression
- If the vegetation cover is closed quickly with catch crop, volunteer grain as well as weeds can be suppressed and prevented from spreading.
7. Nematode control
- Nematode resistant yellow mustard and fodder radish varieties can be used as biological plant protection.
8. Use of biomass
- For operations and biogas systems operators keeping livestock, the winter-hard catch crop (particularly grass varieties) provides additional usage of the growth in spring.
9. Mulch seed
- Freeze-killed catch crop provides a good much layer for the cultivation of the main fruits.
10. Nitrogen fixation
- Improved nutrient supply in the soil is achieved based on the biological nitrogen fixation.