As well as all the usual advice and support related to habitat improvement and conservation, the team at Kings is using this year's Cereals to help build farmers awareness of the benefits of introducing cover crops to the arable rotation. Several demonstration plots have been planted on the Kings stand at Cereals (adjacent to the Frontier marquee).
A wide range of cover crops is increasingly being introduced to the rotation over the autumn period to provide a number of 'green' benefits to arable farmers. The practice is an environmentally friendly way to combat pests and disease, reducing growers' reliance on chemicals.
The use of cover crops for this purpose is already common in Europe. The team at Kings is now promoting the practice among farmer customers, offering them the necessary technical support and advice to select and establish the right crop for their particular requirements.
Typically, cover crops used in this way are planted between commercial arable crops. These crops are usually grown for a limited period and then incorporated into the soil, rather than harvested. This improves soil fertility, particularly nitrogen status but also major and minor nutrients. In such situations they are often know as 'green manures'.
The benefits of introducing cover crops to the arable rotation include:
- Improved soil fertility
- Reduced erosion
- Reduced nutrient loss
- Reduced weeds and pests
- Improved organic matter
- Conservation of moisture
- Improved drainage.
Also on the Kings stand
Kings is hosting advisors from Natural England as well as colleagues from the Guild of Conservation Grade Producers. Kings works closely with both organisations and the striking crop displays on Kings' stand will provide the ideal back drop to discussions relating to creating and managing a range of stewardship features.