Plenty of time to plant a green cover

There is still plenty of time to plant cover crops. Whether you are a participant in the Green Low-Carbon Agriculture Emissions Scheme (GLAS) or not, a green cover is a great way of catching nutrients in the soil and preventing over winter losses.

The old phrase a day in July, a week in August and a month in September, still rings true so maybe have a look to fast establishing crops at this time of the year. Brassica crops are quick to get off the ground, but watch out when sowing these crops in a rotation with oilseed rape.

Different species will also have different types of roots which can help to improve soil structure.

Also Read: Catch crops: Getting down to the roots

Remember, GLAS participants should sow by September 15 and must sow a mix of two crops.

While mixed species create more bio-diversity, it is important to remember that planting a cover crop is better than sowing none. Plant a crop that suits your system – whether there’s one species or 12 it will be an improvement on bare stubble.

Here’s a reminder of the choices and seed rates.

GLAS-approved crops and minimum seed rates:
  • Buckwheat: (30-40kg/ha);
  • Clover – crimson/berseem: (10-15kg/ha);
  • Forage rape: (3-5kg/ha);
  • Mustard: (6-10kg/ha);
  • Oats: (75-100kg/ha);
  • Black oats: (75-100kg/ha);
  • Phacelia: (2-5kg/ha);
  • Rye: (65-80kg/ha);
  • Tillage raddish: (5kg/ha);
  • Vetch: (12kg/ha);
  • Leafy turnip: (5kg/ha);
  • Peas: (30kg/ha);
  • Beans: (90-100kg/ha).

Cover crops sown as part of GLAS cannot be grazed, sprayed off or inverted until December 1.