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Newtone Soil Health Plant Range
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There has been an ever increasing uptake in growers planting cover crops to improve soil health. At Newtone, we have a vast range of knowledge and practical experience in knowing what to plant in certain situations and how to manage them practically.
With changes coming in agricultural policy it is highly likely that we will see more growers turning to growing cover crops as there will be financial incentives to do so. It is equally important to make sure that you are growing the right species and mixtures for your system. For this reason we have decided against stocking set mixtures and try to work with growers to create bespoke solutions for their systems. Please read on to find out more about the Key species and their principal features.
In our opinion one of the most important species for cover cropping. There is a huge range in the number of varieties on offer and selecting the right one for you is as important as getting the right species. There are huge differences between a basic cheapo variety and a high end multi resistance type. We would always advise you go for a top end variety, not because you are necessarily looking for biofumigation, but because of the other benefits these types of varieties have, for example a lot of them (not all!) have multi resistance to clubroot which is beneficial with OSR in the rotation. There is better nematode control form root exudates than there are from biofumigation, due to this breeders have focused on varieties that have a large root surface area therefore offering better soil structuring and nutrient capture. As a stand alone species ( as long as you have the right variety) is the most beneficial and useful cover crop in the majority of situations. As such we would recommend that this is a foundation block for building most mixtures.
A frost hardy mustard which is deep rooting and produces good biomass. Again this is something that has been used in biofumigation mixes for several years, it can work well in combination with the right oil radish or white mustard.
Like oil radishes, there is a wide range in the varieties on offer, however, there are no clubroot tolerant varieties and it is not frost tolerant. It is one of the fastest growing cover crops and offers a cost effective biomass. There are also biofumigant varieties available.
Phacelia is another key cover crop species, it has no impact on most cropping rotations. It produces a large mass of fine fibrous roots. It has the advantages of being highly dependent on water to hold itself upright which means that the stems are not high in lignin and therefore has a low carbon to nitrogen ratio. As part of a mixture it will lower the average carbon nitrogen ratio meaning that you well get a faster breakdown of green material. Phacelia is also high mycorrhizal, meaning that I compensates for other species in the mixture that aren’t. Its purple flowers are also very attractive to insects and bees.
Short term and fast growing. Buckwheat will be the fastest thing out of the ground when autumn sown. It is widely regarded as a very good species for mining phosphate and making it more readily available to the next crop.
Vetches are also another key species in cover crop mixes, they not only produce a large amount of biomass. As a legume they fix nitrogen and this also means that they have a very low carbon to nitrogen ratio. There is a wide range of vetch species and varieties thereof. To find out the best option please speak to us for the best advice.
We offer a wide range of clovers such as Berseem, crimson, Persian and balansa.
We offer a range of cereals both spring and winter cultivars. There are pros and cons of each species but depending on your requirement we are able to advise as to which of these would be most appropriate.
In addition to these key species we are able to source all of the weird and wonderful stuff too. If you can imagine it we can create it. with practical and scientific knowledge we are well placed to advise you on the best soil health mixture.