Cover crop drilling is currently ongoing around the country.

With the help of fantastic harvest weather last month, growers were able to clear winter barley and some winter oat fields in good time.

This has allowed many growers to get cover crops drilled early. But why is this important?

Getting cover crops drilled early maximises its chances for autumn growth, allowing the crop to help reduce nitrate leaching over the winter period and increase soil organic matter levels.


Work carried out by Teagasc researcher Dr Richie Hackett was recently published and showed the difference sowing date has on crop development.

Hairy vetch and mustard were sown across sowing dates 30 July, 18 August and 8 September last year.

In biomass alone, Richie’s work found a difference of between 3t and 4t DM/ha between crops sown in July and September.

The earlier-sown crops also significantly reduced the percentage of weeds growing in the field.

Watch the full report below: