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  • Steve Thompson

Managing cover crops profitably


Capstone Seeds, an agricultural seed company supplying primarily hybrid and open pollinated maize seed as well as crop seeds such as sunflower, grain sorghum, dry beans and a wide range of pasture and fodder crop seeds, saw a recent swing towards biological farming.

This led Capstone to develop a range of cover and green manure crops, to assist farmers in producing high yielding crops through cost effective smart solutions.

Last year December, Capstone Seeds in association with Coastals held a seminar at Coastals’ head office discussing the benefits of Cover Crop farming. Due to the response we received from interested parties we have teamed up again with Francis Yeatman to discuss further the positive effects of green manure cropping and various systems that you can put in place to manage your Cover Crops profitably.

A few years ago farmers in the different agricultural sectors began experiencing serious drops in yield from their lands. Capstone got involved with a number of agricultural consultants and research institutions to try and identify the possible causes. The results found were extraordinary but most pointed to the fact that some of our farming land has been hammered and abused by mono-cropping and other bad farming practices for years due to economic and financial pressures. This has caused some soils to be badly depleted, acidity increasing rapidly and the microbial life almost non-existent. A decision was then taken to start sourcing the various cover crops identified by the farming consultants. Capstone slowly started to build up product lines and we now have a very large product range of cover crop and biofumigation seed to offer the farming community .

Let’s touch briefly on what green manuring and cover cropping is:

Green manuring is the incorporation of “green” plant tissue into the soil. This plant tissue can be from any source and even weeds can be considered as a source of green manure. It is an economical and practical method to improve soil structure and improve productivity to unused or over-worked soils.

Benefits of Green Manuring:

  1. Improves soil fertility and structure.

  2. Adds nutrients and organic matter.

  3. Improves soil aeration.

  4. Increases water infiltration and holding capacity.

  5. Reduces soil erosion from wind and water.

  6. Increases soil biodiversity by stimulating the growth of beneficial microbes and other soil organisms.

  7. Ideal for organic crop rotations and conventional systems.

Green manuring and cover crops can be used in rotation with sugar cane to promote soil sustainability. Adding any organic matter to any soil will improve it. It has a binding effect in the case of light soil and in the case of a clay soil it helps make it more porous. As well as creating a desirable “coffee granule” structure it will help drain soil that is too wet and will help hold water in soils that are too dry. Organic matter helps increase both air and water holding capacity in soils.

Click here to see our range of Cover Crops

If you have found this article interesting and would like to continue learning about the benefits of cover crops and specific varieties that can be used to increase your productivity email us at: sales@capstoneseeds.com

And we will send through information regarding the advantage of specific varieties that our consultant Francis Yeatman has put together for us in his capacity at Oasis.

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