Sowing with cover crops is a good aid in sowing grassland in various ways. As stated in previous blogs, farm income is strongly linked to the dry matter productie per hectare aan ruwvoer.

What kind of crops are used when sowing under cover crops;

Relatively short-lived crops with a different growth pattern than the main crop are often used for this. Preferably they are crops that have a more open crop as they mature. A cover crop can be used in the autumn as well as in the spring to be sowed.

These can be, for example, small grains such as rye and wheat. Rye is more suitable for sandy soil, wheat more for clay soil.

What is the purpose of sowing under cover crop;

There are several goals pursued by sowing cover crops; providing protection for the soil and the main crop, retaining moisture, producing extra yield in the first year and reducing weed pressure.

Sowing under cover crops ensures extra dry matter production in the first year. This varies per case and depends on the type of crop, sowing date, sowing density, and harvest stage. On our farm, I always calculated between 3 to 5 tons of dry matter per hectare, in extra yield in the first year.

How to handle a cover crop;

Because a good cover crop can really make a difference in the success of the main crop, it pays to take this seriously.

A cover crop will reduce weed pressure because it quickly covers the soil and is often used when sowing late autumn or early spring. The crop then protects against frost and heavy rain, retains dew and precipitation and thus provides better germination conditions for the main crop.

But it can also suppress the main crop. The choice of type, sowing density and harvest time are important for this. For example, a crop of rye and wheat becomes more open as they ripen. This gives the main crop more light and air to grow. Harvesting in the vegetative stage also gives the main crop more space.

Weiden van een dekvrucht gaat prima, maar ook inkuilen is een optie. Het voordeel van granen bijvoorbeeld is de vroege voorjaarsgroei dat vroeg in het voorjaar voor beweidingsruimte zorgt, vol energie, eiwit en mineralen. Want granen in het vegetatieve stadium vormen een geconcentreerde voedingsbron.