Cover crops are grown primarily to ‘protect or improve’ soils in arable crop rotations. They can be effective at improving soil functions by increasing soil nutrient and water retention; improving soil structure and quality; reducing the risk of soil erosion and surface run-off by providing soil cover; and managing weeds and soil-borne pests.
For the benefits of cover crops to be fully realised, understanding what different cover-crop species can achieve and how to manage them on different soil types and rotations is crucial.
Join us for this free webinar to learn about the benefits of cover crops and the science behind the advice. ADAS researchers will share their knowledge and results from recent research on cover crop management; these include over-winter nitrate leaching losses and impacts on cash crop yields and quality.
Practical guidance on cover crop choice, management and potential benefits, and the research tools used to generate this advice, will also be discussed.
A. Making the most of cover crops – Dr Anne Bhogal, Principal Soil Scientist, ADAS
- Anne is a principal soil scientist with ADAS who is carrying out research to support the development of policies on soil and nutrient management. She has a particular interest in the impact of organic amendments and cover cropping on soil quality, carbon storage and nutrient cycling. She is currently leading projects for measuring and improving soil health, as well as ways for maximising the benefits of cover crops. She recently led the AHDB Maxi Cover Crop project looking at ways to maximise the benefits of cover crops and is involved in a Channel Payment for Ecosystem Services (CPES) project, which aims to demonstrate the benefits of cover crops for water quality.
- She is a FACTS-qualified advisor and a Fellow of the British Society of Soil Scientists.
B. Cover crop management to reduce over-winter nitrate leaching losses – Dr Kate Smith, Soil Scientist, ADAS
- Kate is a soil scientist with ADAS and her research focuses on quantifying diffuse pollution from agricultural soils and assessing soil structural quality. Kate is involved in several projects investigating the impact of cover cropping on crop yields, nitrate leaching losses and soil structure. She has worked with Defra and water companies to research oversowing methods as an approach for introducing cover crops into maize cropping systems and is currently working on an Innovative Farmers field lab that will investigate the impact of sheep grazing cover crops on soil nitrogen supply, soil structure and crop performance.
C. Questions and discussion