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.
The following report introduces a farm with long-term experiences in cultivating catch crops in order to reduce soil erosion and nitrogen leaching. Apart from winter hard (very important) catch crop mixtures, green rye and under-sowing in maize are used.
The main statement of the farm manager, who grows catch crops independently of the current greening requirements, is as follows:
“If you want take advantage of these mixtures the catch crop cultivation has to be done properly. The main crop can only profit if the catch crop is well-established resulting in an optimal N-fixation, sufficient erosion CONTROL and deep rooting. Just to do the minimum in order to comply with the greening requirements achieves nothing.”