High yields in cereals depend on sufficient nutrient supply
Increased row spacing in the main crop and early sowing can improve the growth of the catch crop, provide better nitrogen impact and stabilize yields over time.
Row cultivation in cereals with nitrogen-fixing crops can improve nitrogen supply in the crop rotation, while reducing nitrogen leaching. Well-established and competitive catch crops are important, they can both supply a significant amount of nitrogen to the subsequent crops and compete against the weeds.
There needs to be a balance between main and catch crops – competitive main crops require early establishment of the catch crop and/or larger row distance. In a less competitive main crop, row distance can be narrower and the catch crops should be sown later. Early harvest is important to get a competitive catch crop.
Well established catch crops can increase the yield of the succeeding crop, corresponding to up to 50 kg nitrogen per hectare.
Well established catch crops – including nitrogen fixing species – reduce nitrogen leaching by up to 20 kg N per hectare.