Cover Crops – the next step

My first year of zero-til with the 750a has given me great confidence in its ability to cope with extreme trash residue from previous crops.

The success I saw drilling on the green WOSR volunteer crops has encouraged me to push the idea further and invest in my soils planting cover crops that will hopefully capture sunlight and water in a period when land would otherwise be bare,  sustain and improve soil biology and fertility

Crops were established as soon as practical behind the combine at harvest and the results so far encouraging

this was  home brew mix that has produced very impressive biomass very quickly – Mustard, linseed, oats, sunflower and some peas – very cheap and I think rather successful



I planted “pedder #1″ mix on a lot of acres – the level of bio mass achieved being pretty much directly proportionate to establishment date,  lesson is these crops need to go in early as possible,  higher seed rates for better ground cover or maybe even a low rate of N to promote rapid growth

There is a lot going on below the surface,  roots doing the subsoiling job for me !

along with these guys who seem to love and really appreciate the cover crops

the multi species mixes all seem to bring different things to the party !  hopefully nutrition improvements  will reduce fertiliser costs in the next crop

looking forward to spring and getting the drill direct into these cover crops


Companion Cropping – Peas and SOSR


After WW – stubbles 1 pass with carrier last week, I would have drilled direct but stubble needed levelling after harvest damage and I also felt that soil might warm faster if I turned it brown !  I guess if nothi g else this does prove that the &%0a is just as happy in a cultivated situation as it is direct –  versatility is important in anyone’s system

drilled April 21st 2103 soil temp 9 deg c

Crackerjack spring blue peas tgw 275 seed rates 180-250kg /ha

Earlybird SOSR 3.5tgw seed rate 2 – 3.5kg/ha



The idea is that the N fixing of the Peas will help fertilise the SOSR the and the SOSR. Will support the peas making combining easier, The harvested mixture to be separated by rotary cleaner at store

50% of total N will be applied tomorrow as DAP and Centium will be used pre-em tomorrow

Will either be a complete nightmare or work well !!





Showing in rows



Update – peas dominating so far. Centium has worked a bit well and checked sosr a bit I think leaving some bleached leaf

looks like the peas are about to start contributing some N though now







Quick update – spring rape just starting to flower now




harvest time ! – SOSR doing its job supporting peas,  where we didn’t drill osr the peas are VERY flat

Sample pre separation






Sample cleaned out well over a rotary cleaner - variable costs were £175/ac
Gross output /ac was 1.6t peas – not sold yet but offered £330 (£528) last week plus 279kg OSR £320 ?? = (£89.28) = £617

GM about £ 442/ac which is respectable for the year

Seed (both pea and sosr) was expensive last year as everyone wanted spring crops – home saving will knock a good chunk of the VC’s next year