Catch crop Advice

Villagefarmer

New Member
Hi all ,
First post so be gentle with me.

My vinning peas will be harvested in the next ten days and the next crop will not be planted till late September or early October. I need some advice or pointers on catch crops. Is there an independent expert out there I can talk to I'm sure many of you on here will some advice?
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
What will the following crop be? I wouldn't use legumes because that's what you've just had. What else do you grow in your rotation? Try and avoid those to prevent pest/disease build up for those. Quick biomass would come from buckwheat. Phacelia is great for pollinators. Linseed is good for shallow soil structure. Radish is good for breaking through tight layers left by pea viners on wet fields but beware flea beetle & other brassicas in the rotation. Why not a mix of all the above?
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
What will the following crop be? I wouldn't use legumes because that's what you've just had. What else do you grow in your rotation? Try and avoid those to prevent pest/disease build up for those. Quick biomass would come from buckwheat. Phacelia is great for pollinators. Linseed is good for shallow soil structure. Radish is good for breaking through tight layers left by pea viners on wet fields but beware flea beetle & other brassicas in the rotation. Why not a mix of all the above?
This all sounds great but what is the cost/benefit equation? Establishment+ expensive seeds+ crop destruction... Vs ?
 

jonnyjon

Member
I trial I have been involved with, run by PGRO, has sometimes shown a yield decrease in wheat after a post pea catchcrop containing buckwheat. The effect is relatively small and doesn't always happen but why take the risk?
Intending to sow buckwheat after w barley as a cover/ smother crop and then dd the next crop into it, hopefully no dreaded roundup needed. I'll need a bit of luck I think....
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
Long term benefits, short term cost, very hard to quantify benefits v cost but well worth doing imo
If the long term benefits are worth the expenditure why is so hard to quantify? All it takes would be for some simple split field trials and some yield mapping in the following couple of crops.
 
If the long term benefits are worth the expenditure why is so hard to quantify? All it takes would be for some simple split field trials and some yield mapping in the following couple of crops.
Would probably need to do it for much longer (10 years?) to show a quantifiable benefit. The benefit will show in the years of extremes (of weather) and quite possibly no benefit in "good" years.
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
Would probably need to do it for much longer (10 years?) to show a quantifiable benefit. The benefit will show in the years of extremes (of weather) and quite possibly no benefit in "good" years.
A crop grown for just 2 months having a beneficial effect on the soil for 10 years, that sounds like wishful thinking rather than science.
 
A crop grown for 2 months will have a small benefit.
Repeat the practice of catch and/or cover cropping as well as returning crop residues for 10 years and then you will see a benefit.
The principal short term benefit of catch cropping after early vining peas is to capture a significant proportion of the free nitrogen produced by the peas and retain it in the soil/plant ecosystem so it doesn't leach out over winter.
Difficult to quantify the financial benefit of that without further research into the nitrogen needs of the wheat crop. The PGRO trial has partly addressed this but it is really outside the scope of the trial. I know they are trying to secure funding from other bodies to investigate it further.
In the current climate where ags environmental impact is under constant scrutiny then this practice is an easy win for the industry. IMO growers should have a very good reason for not doing it.
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
A crop grown for 2 months will have a small benefit.
Repeat the practice of catch and/or cover cropping as well as returning crop residues for 10 years and then you will see a benefit.
The principal short term benefit of catch cropping after early vining peas is to capture a significant proportion of the free nitrogen produced by the peas and retain it in the soil/plant ecosystem so it doesn't leach out over winter.
Difficult to quantify the financial benefit of that without further research into the nitrogen needs of the wheat crop. The PGRO trial has partly addressed this but it is really outside the scope of the trial. I know they are trying to secure funding from other bodies to investigate it further.
In the current climate where ags environmental impact is under constant scrutiny then this practice is an easy win for the industry. IMO growers should have a very good reason for not doing it.
Repeat for 10 years and I have no doubt you will see a benefit but the financial cost is significant. Ag is a business and the effect needs to be economic. I am not discounting catch/cover cropping, it is just finding a means of establishing a worthwhile crop at a low enough cost.
 
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Villagefarmer

New Member
What will the following crop be? I wouldn't use legumes because that's what you've just had. What else do you grow in your rotation? Try and avoid those to prevent pest/disease build up for those. Quick biomass would come from buckwheat. Phacelia is great for pollinators. Linseed is good for shallow soil structure. Radish is good for breaking through tight layers left by pea viners on wet fields but beware flea beetle & other brassicas in the rotation. Why not a mix of all the above?
It would be winter wheat
 

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