A fruitful investment
Cover crops ensure a good soil condition. For a start, they supply large quantities of organic matter, which is important for a good structure and fertility of the soil. Organic matter is decomposed all the year round. So new organic matter has to be added to the soil to increase its concentration or keep it at the required level.
Cover crops have a positive effect on soil structure, making it possible to till the soil at an earlier stage. The soil will also be able to retain moisture better, while leaching of residual nitrogen will be prevented. This results in higher yields of the main crop. Potatoes in particular respond favourably to cover crops, with potentially 5 % higher yields. Yields of sugarbeet and wheat may also increase. A cover crop will moreover imply a lower optimum nitrogen dose, and therefore lower cultivation costs.
Control of nematodes
Resistant cover crops reduce nematode populations in the soil. Sugarbeet nematodes in particular can be effectively controlled with a green manure crop. When grown as the main crop, sugarbeets produce higher yields when nematode-resistant white mustard or fodder radish is used as a cover crop.
Fixing of minerals
Cover crops fix important nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium in plant stems, leaves and roots, precluding the risk of them being leached in autumn and winter. Especially grasses that bolt late fi x mineralsover long periods. A well-developed cover crop will yield 80 - 100 kg of nitrogen per hectare.