Maize Cover Crops

3 different methods on Cheshire Farms Inter rowing v’s after harvest establishment

Andrew Winward, Stapleford Hall

Italian rye slot drilled after maize harvest 5th October rate of 32kg/ha

Contractor cost £42 ha

Good establishment but dependant on good weather conditions post harvest 

Evan Jones Crewe Hall

In association with Spunhill LG Over Maize mixture at 15 Kg/ha

50% Matrix Festulolium, 50% Hykor Festulolium 

Drilled in 3 rows between the maize when maize is at 5 leaf stage and has received last dressing of herbicide.  Narrow tyres used to minimise damage.

Contractor Cost £49/ha

Benefit – grass is already established once maize is harvested so it gets an earlier start

Option 3

Italian Ryegrass blend that was broadcast at 15Kg/ha.

Seed was broadcast using a fertiliser spinner late June

Benefit – you get more grass establishment nearer the maize stalks

Benefits of maize cover crops

Enhancing soil structure and organic matter 

Reducing soil erosion – see rules below

Retaining soil nutrients Research shows 30-40 kgs of nitrogen being captured per hectare, with nitrogen prices as they are, you can save £25-£30 per hectare 

Provision of winter/spring grazing opportunities – youngstock/heifers or a flying flock of sheep

Fields travel better

Less mud on roads

Potential payments of £124-£159/ha under Countryside Stewardship – note however depending on your option you have either a 15th September or 15th October establishment date for the cover crop – hence inter rowing is recommended.

We have rules around sustainable farming, including soil erosion, protecting water courses and encouraging green cover over winter. Under sowing would tick the box for a green crop growing that is holding soil together and adding organic matter back into the topsoil and retaining carbon.

Maize Cover Crops
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