The reformation of the fertilisation ordinance gives farmers the incentive to tackle soil fertility with greater intensity. Because only a healthy, well-structured soil can store nutrients optimally and make them available to the plants. This complex system can be influenced positively using catch crops. The most obvious measure for securing the nutrient supply is to provide the plants with regular and requirement-oriented organic and mineral fertilisation. As this possibility will be restricted in the future through the reformation of the fertilisation ordinance, additional arable measures will need to be incorporated.
Catch crop growers with long-term experience know when mechanical tillage of catch crops is required or, if necessary, how can it be avoided. Greening specifications and the newly added catch crop varieties, however, call for us to consider this topic once again.
On the farm of Klemens, Markus and Agnes Schmeink catch crops have always been used in order to build up soil organic matter and to prevent erosion. The pilot project of the agricultural department of North-Rhine Westphalia for the water framework directive also puts a focus on efficient nitrogen usage.
No matter whether catch crops are used for erosion protection, nutrient preservation, for fighting nematodes or as efficient weed or weed grass suppression, a soil well penetrated by roots and a completely covered soil surface are essential.