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  • 15 February 2024

12 reasons why farmers should grow cover crops

Farmers sow cover crops for various reasons, as they provide numerous benefits to both the soil and the overall farming ecosystem. Here are some key reasons why farmers choose to sow cover crops:

1. Soil Conservation

Cover crops help prevent soil erosion by protecting the soil surface from wind and water erosion. The plant roots anchor the soil, reducing the risk of nutrient run-off and preserving the topsoil.

2. Weed Suppression

Cover crops can outcompete and suppress weeds. Their dense canopy shades the soil, making it difficult for weeds to establish and grow.

3. Nutrient Management

Certain cover crops, such as legumes, have the ability to fix nitrogen. This could reduce the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and improves overall soil fertility.

4. Moisture Retention

Cover crops help improve water retention in the soil. Their root systems create channels for water to penetrate, and the plant residues on the soil surface act as a mulch, reducing evaporation and maintaining soil moisture levels.

5. Disease and Pest Management

Some cover crops release natural compounds that can suppress certain soilborne diseases and pests, acting as a form of biological control.

6. Biodiversity

Cover crops contribute to overall farm biodiversity by providing habitat and food sources for beneficial insects and microorganisms. This can enhance the natural balance within the agricultural ecosystem.

Cover Crops @ Cheviots Full Size

7. Improved Soil Structure

The root systems of cover crops improve soil structure by promoting aggregation. This enhances aeration, drainage, and the overall tilth of the soil.

8. Reduced Soil Compaction

Deep-rooted cover crops can help alleviate soil compaction, breaking up compacted layers and improving the movement of air, water, and nutrients through the soil.

9. Seasonal Land Use

Cover crops can be planted during periods when the main cash crops are not actively growing, providing continuous coverage on the field and preventing bare soil exposure.

10. Erosion Control

By protecting the soil surface, cover crops play a crucial role in preventing erosion caused by wind and water, especially on sloping terrain.

11. Carbon Sequestration

Cover crops contribute to carbon sequestration as they capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil organic matter.

12. Livestock Forage

Some cover crops can also be used as forage for livestock, providing an additional income source for farmers.

Get in touch today

We can offer a range of bespoke cover crop mixtures, which can be formulated to best suit your farming operation. 

So, if you’re looking to purchase cover crop seed for the upcoming season, contact your Farm Trader today or call us on 01289 330022.

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