Cover Crops
Cover Crops

Cover Crops

GREEN COVER/COVER CROP

WHITE MUSTARD

A very popular green manure crop. Relatively inexpensive and highly versatile cover crop either sown alone or as a companion to other species. It is a fast growing and good weed suppressor. It is ideal for early cover and produces large quantities of biomass although killed off by frost later. It is an excellent scavenger of nitrogen.

 

FODDER RADISH (OIL RADISH)

A fast growing cover crop, its speed of establishment aids weed suppression. It has a long taproot which will improve the soil structure and also has plenty of foliage that produces a large quantity of organic matter. An excellent nitrogen scavenger.

 

TILLAGE RADISH

A particularly deep tap root, which helps to improve soils structure and drainage by drilling down through heavy soils and compacted layers.

  

FORAGE RYE

Produces large amounts of organic matter and suppresses weeds and is also an excellent nitrogen scavenger to help prevent leaching during winter months.

 

BROWN MUSTARD

A fast growing green manure crop with bio fumigation properties, i.e. it suppresses soilborne pests and diseases. It is an easy to establish 50 - 70 day crop that can be sown between April and September. Unlike white mustard, it is winter hardy.

 

BLACK OATS - AVENA STRIGOSA

A very popular green manure crop. Relatively inexpensive and highly versatile cover crop either sown alone or as a companion to other species. It is a fast growing and good weed suppressor. It is ideal for early cover and produces large quantities of biomass although killed off by frost later. It is an excellent scavenger of nitrogen.

 

Cover Crops do not produce a marketable product, they benefit the soil for the succeeding crops and are a good return on investment. They are beneficial to the soil by:

 

  • improving soil health by adding organic matter to the soil
  • increasing biological activity
  • improving soil structure
  • reducing soil erosion and run off
  • suppressing weeds and reduces leaching
  • increasing the supply of nutrients available to the next crop (particularly by adding nitrogen by fixation)
  • nematode control
  • counts towards EFA points

 

Growing a cover crop is a very effective way of controlling nematode populations. Choosing the correct species and variety is key and needs careful planning. Some species of plants such as oil radish and mustard have been specially bred to be resistant to specific nematodes. A wide range of plant species can be used as green manures. Different crops bring different benefits and the final choice is influenced by many considerations. If the most is to be made of green manuring crops, it is important that they are carefully integrated into the crop rotation and proper attention paid to the crop husbandry.

 

Download the Gamestay Cover Crop Information PDF

Download the Gamestay Recovery Crop Information PDF

 

STEWARDSHIP

Stewardship agreements cover 2.5 million hectares and there are around 14,000 English farmers with ELS agreements. Wildlife ‘crops’ are now part of the modern farming business. The emphasis is now shifting to quality delivery of the right habitats. We offer a wide range of Wild bird seed mixtures, Buffer strip mixtures and Nectar Rich mixtures to provide Nectar and pollen and seed throughout the growing season.

 

Wild BIRD SEED MIXTURE

A key option in ELS scheme as modern farming leaves little residue seed for birds. So, growing a few areas of crop especially for birds will increase their chances of survival. Probably more than any other option this one is likely to produce the best pay-back in terms of wildlife in the shortest possible time. Indeed, if farmers choose to get all their ELS points with this option alone, the benefits for birds will be considerable. These mixtures will provide important food resources for farmland birds, especially in winter and early spring, on arable and mixed farms. The aim is to maximise the production of small seeds suitable as bird food in either annual or annual/biennial mixtures, while also providing a source of invertebrates for birds.

 

BUFFER STRIPS

Buffer strips protect and enhance important features such as streams, ponds, ditches and woods. They can also be used to reduce soil run-off and may therefore be part of a soil management plan. In the right places too they can provide additional nesting cover for game and animals like hares. Although normally sited around the edges of fields, they can also be used within fields, for example to protect a group of in-field trees. But they are not a panacea, and it would be a huge lost opportunity if these strips were the sole option on any farm.

 

NECTAR RICH MIXES

Sowing an area of flowering plants into the farmed landscape will boost the availability of essential food sources for a range of nectar-feeding insects, including butterflies and bumblebees. These mixtures provided valuable benefits to wildlife at a landscape scale and are ideally suited to larger blocks and small fields. They contain diverse range of grasses, legumes and wild flowers that will boost the availability of essential food sources for a range of nectar-feeding insects, including butterflies and bumblebees.

 

WILDFLOWER MIXES

In order to meet with the increasing demand for conservation mixtures, we can offer twelve mixtures, each designed to recreate a particular habitat. The wildflower used in the Wild Flora range are guaranteed to be of native UK orgin. To discuss your requirements please phone the seed office to discuss.

 

DISCLAIMER Any Information provided is given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge. If you would like any further advice please contact your local Natural England Advisor.

Download the Stewardship Cover Crop Information PDF

 

GAME COVER

 

GAMESTAY KALE BLEND

A blend has an advantage over a single variety as it provides:

  • Greater disease resistances
  • Greater tolerance to weather conditions
  • Suitability to a wider range of soil types

The varieties in this blend have all been demonstrated in our own trials and have been selected to complement each other to provide a canopy throughout the whole season. All seed treated with CRUISER or COMBICOAT (against flea beetle & seedling diseases) must be drilled and not broadcast.

 

GAMESTAY OCTO PUSSY

A mid-season maize which has been specially selected for:

  • Early vigour
  • Standing ability

The seed is treated with THIRAM & MESUROL.

 

GAMESTAY MOONRAKER

A 3 variety maize blend with varying maturity dates & plant types. These varieties have been selected for:

  • Early vigour
  • Standing ability

The seed is treated with THIRAM & MESUROL.

 

GAMESTAY TRADITIONAL

A mix of varieties offering good feed and late cover value. Ideal for Pheasants, Partridges and wild birds. The mix contains:

  • Kale
  • Sunflowers
  • Mustard
  • Quinoa .

 

GAMESTAY SORGHUM

A very useful addition to the cover crop family in either a mix or on its own. It combines well with maize and can be grown on the outside or across rows. Sorghum is also very tolerant to many herbicides used on maize, this can make it an ideal partner (always check chemical product labels before spraying). DON’T be tempted to plant too early as it requires a good soil temperature to establish. Weather is key with growing sorghum.

 

GAMESTAY REVIVAL

Best used where rapid establishment is required such as replacement of a failed crop or as a late establishment option. It contains a balanced mix of fast growing brassicas and can produce useful cover within six to eight weeks. Revival should not be sown too early, it will provide feed and cover well into the winter.

 

GAMESTAY RECOUP

A combination of Texel Greens and a specially selected Mustard which shows early vigour against other Mustard varieties as evaluated in our trials. It is best used where rapid establishment of a crop is required, such as replacement of a failed crop or as a late establishment option.

 

CARBON

Carbon is a Kale x Mustard hybrid. Amazing cover in a short period of time.

  • Best sown in June or July
  • Excellent cover by November
  • Frost tolerant
  • Ideal for sowing or covering patching areas
  • Can be sown into cereal stubble
  • Sow at 2kg per acre

 

WBS 1

(AB9) 1 Year Spring Sown

Attracts Tree Sparrows

  • Spring Triticale
  • White Millet
  • White Mustard Sowing Rate 40Kg/Ha. Pack Size 20Kg
  • Spring Brarley
  • Red Millet
  • Fodder Radish

 

WBS 2

(AB9) 1-2 Year Spring Sown

Attracts Grey Partridge

  • Spring Triticale
  • Kale
  • White Millet
  • Red Millet Sowing Rate 40Kg/Ha. Pack Size 20Kg

Sowing and Utilising Chart

A helpful guide for the best establishment and use of your cover crops.

Download the Sowing and Utilising Chart Information PDF

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