Tilling the maize crop leads to soil compaction and reduces soil quality, which can have a negative impact upon the growing conditions of subsequent crops. No-till processes are soil-conserving, but highly challenging in organic farming.
For the conservation of soil quality, no-till maize cultivation in a rolled green manure has proved to be successful in practical trials by FiBL. The use of lush peas (EFB33 peas) is recommended as they almost stop growing after being rolled, and cover the soil well. With the mulching process, the trials achieved crop yields virtually equal to the ploughing method.
The non-tilled, constantly covered soil has improved water retention and also shows a better carrying capacity during harvest, and is less affected by weed infestation, compaction, nutrient-leaching, and erosion. Stockless farms especially benefit from the nitrogen input of the legume-green manure.
• At the beginning of August, carry out 1 to 2 stubble-tillage operations after cereal or rape harvest.
• Sow the wintering forage peas in October.
• At the end of May, kink the peas' stems with a knife-cylinder roller, after which you drill in the maize with row cleaners. The green manure lying on the ground must be properly dried off for sowing.
• The mineralisation performance, lowered due to the soil cover, can be compensated for with focused nitrogen fertilisation in the rows.