Dismiss Notice
Direct Driller Magazine Issue 4 is now available to read online

click here to read...

Direct Driller

Cover crop destruction

Discussion in 'Direct Drilling Crops & Agronomy' started by Hay Farmer, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. T Hectares

    T Hectares Member

    I was concerned about the Phacelia, but this lot are tucking into it well, they arent in lamb though, what do you think the risk is?? IMAG2972.jpg
    Brisel likes this.
  2. Clive

    Clive Staff Member


    do as you have done in the past but just spray AFTER drilling not before so the rolling action of the drill lets spray get into the bottom of the thick cover
    York and AF Salers like this.
  3. Fish

    Fish Member

    North yorkshire
    image.jpeg image.jpeg Rolled one of our fields on the -5 frost this week, these photos were taken 3 days later.
    I will just have to see how much bounces back.
    Clive likes this.
  4. livestock 1

    livestock 1 Member

    Buy some sheep! Or I can send you some
  5. Spud

    Spud Member

    Not sure I agree with that, as someone who has grown cover crops for 8 years on everything from rank sand to brick clay (there's a kiln on the farm, 'nuff said!)
    A common mix here is 50kg Oats, 2kg mustard and 3kg radish per hectare - sometimes we add 50kg of beans on one farm without beans in the rotation, where infertility and lack of OM is a problem.

    The key things I've learned re covers are:

    Dont get them too thick - let the weeds grow in the cover crop, not the one that you take to harvest. Allow the sun and wind to dry the soil or establishment of the next crop will be compromised
    Mix deep and shallow rooting species
    Drill into them with as little disturbance as possible to minimise weed growth
    Be patient
    Keep it cheap
    Less = more as far as cultivation is concerned, but remove significant compaction where necessary pre sowing the cover, not the harvested crop.
    Make them fit the situation, not the situation fit the cover - ie the harvested crop is still the most important one
    When following winter barley, a stale seedbed and tidyup of volunteers pre sowing cover late August is worthwhile.

    A few examples - dd cover after wheat on heavy land before direct drilling spring oats straight into the standing cover has worked very well indeed as far as weed control, margin and soil health are concerned
    - dd cover pre potatoes, flailed off (mostly to allow the OM to fall through the destoner into the bed), cultivated about 8" deep into the stubble pre ploughing and ridging has reduced bedtilling significantly, retained friable rows which crack, slump and cap much less, reducing greens and increasing saleable yields, and easier harvesting.
    - made soils more workable on farms that havent seen muck in 30yrs

    A few observations of cover crops elsewhere:

    One size does not fit all
    Is there really a need for 10 different species in a mix? Adds more cost than value to me
    Really thick cover crops create more problems than they solve

    Things we need to learn yet (theres lots more than this!) -

    Wether sheep grazing can be a valuable part of the process
    Destruction - is more soil energy expended breaking down a green cover, or a burnt off one? Does flailing help in this regard?
    Can I get more value from my covers with a different species of radish to reduce nematodes without breaking the bank?
    Is Phacelia an alternative to say mustard in the current mix of Oats, radish and mustard?
    Are Linseed, Vetch and Berseem clover (tried all 3 over the years) really doing much good, when they visibly seem to do very little?
    Michael S and farmerpaul like this.
  6. rob1

    rob1 Member

    If it works for you I certainly wouldnt knock it, but we found it didnt help much, have a decent natural cover on our stubbles this year so perhaps will have a bit of a trial again
  7. Fish

    Fish Member

    North yorkshire
    No thanks, I'll let the soil livestock do the work, woolly rabbits are sadly over rated.
  8. livestock 1

    livestock 1 Member

    Fish likes this.
  9. jonnyjon

    jonnyjon Member

    One of the best ways to have plenty of soil livestock is to have above ground livestock
    JCMaloney, juke, rob1 and 3 others like this.
  10. Fish

    Fish Member

    North yorkshire
    image.jpeg Two weeks on from rolling, even the oats and the rye are looking sick.
    York, JCMaloney, Shutesy and 2 others like this.
  11. In your last paraghraph .spud . We thought that ,till you put spade in and dig down , oil raddish in a wet hole from last year ,and some late drilled mustard and tillage raddish , was only about 5/6 inch high ,but it had put some good roots down , will get some pics of different field ,when plough one for beet ,and direct drilling some spring barley into other one
  12. Spud

    Spud Member

    It'd be interesting to see the pics. When I said visibly, I was referring to under ground, as well as on the surface.
  13. Wigeon

    Wigeon Member

    Sheep are off now- very pleased with the results so far.
  14. britt

    britt Member

    leics/warks border
    The more plant matter that you can grow the better.
    However, too much to handle at destruction is the problem.
    If you have access to sheep to convert the cover to fertiliser, grow it thick.
    If you are on heavy land and no sheep are available, use a low seed rate with some species that will be killed by frost so that it is thin by spring to allow the air and sun to get at the soil.
    As said above, there is no one size fits all and you must tailor the cover to each situation and consider all of the different aspects.
    Hay Farmer likes this.
  15. If you graze with sheep ,how much nutrient ,are taking away with them ,on their backs is it not better to flail it off and plough it in ,have grown mustard kale rape mix to plough in ,in front of sugar beet , and some different raddish , one been for bcn ,
  16. britt

    britt Member

    leics/warks border
    If you are going to plough anyway, destruction is not an issue.:scratchhead:
    Ploughing will also destroy much of the benefit of a cover crop.
    Manure from the sheep will be far more beneficial to the crop than green crop residue.
  17. Brisel

    Brisel Member

    If he’s going to plough anyway, he’s still better off with a cover crop than with a bare stubble.
    moretimeforgolf, martian and Spud like this.
  18. phil

    phil Member

    nothing will bounce back, how does it look now
  19. Michael S

    Michael S Member

    Matching Green
    What are peoples thoughts about topping either at the time of drilling or earlier either with or without spraying off? - In the absence of grazing, just to be clear.
  20. Fish

    Fish Member

    North yorkshire
    76E14F04-3B93-4916-9CC2-C5650EF8E1D3.jpeg Now, what do you think?
    Michael S likes this.

Share This Page