A good cover crop acts as a soil cure between the main crops, so cover crops should be treated as a main crop. For the evaluation of a cover crop, not only the above-ground formed mass is to be considered. The influence of the roots on the activity of soil life and the properties of the soil are a decisive evaluation criterion.
The TerraLife ® concept starts precisely here, because TerraLife® mixtures enable the soil to be rooted densely, deeply and in many different ways. For successful cover crop cultivation, the choice of mixture must be followed by the creation of optimum sowing conditions depending on crop rotation, sowing date, sowing technique and intended use.
To save water and to prevent competition from volunteer grain or rape, sowing should be carried out immediately after the combine harvester with flat tools. If the intercrop sowing is not possible due to weather conditions or for labour management reasons shortly after the previous crop has been harvested, the accumulated lost grain should be treated with appropriate tillage measures. Special attention must be paid to the swath area when straw is harvested. In some cases, an additional cereal crop control is necessary. The sowing times should be adapted regionally.
All mixtures contain small and large grained varieties, therefore the optimum sowing depth is max. 2 - 3 cm. When preparing the seedbed, the demands of fine seeds with a fine crumbly, well reconsolidated seedbed must be taken into account. Basically, an optimum straw distribution should be ensured in advance.
A mixture of cover crops can be sown after soil cultivation with the drill or after previous crops such as rye or wheat on the day of threshing with direct sowing into the stubble. If ploughing is done for the catch crop, the plough can usually be dispensed with for the next main crop. The use of rollers (e.g. goods roller) in conjunction with spreading or drilling technology can also be useful and efficient. A uniformly flat seed placement with sufficient reconsolidation is decisive.
The straw distribution must be optimal, possibly the use of a straw bar and/or mulching of the stubble is necessary. Since under dry conditions there is hardly any N-mineralisation in the top layer of the soil, nitrogen application is recommended for direct sowing
The seeding rates of the TerraLife® mixtures are calculated for an optimal seed bed and optimal sowing times and should be strictly adhered to due to the different competitive behaviour of the individual mixing partners. Only in unfavourable conditions, such as insufficient seedbed preparation or late sowing dates, should the seed strengths be adjusted upwards.
The growth should not be worked in green in late autumn. If the mixtures are left standing over winter, it is recommended to roll or crush them at the end of the vegetation, preferably during the first frost, to allow a safe freezing and even incorporation in spring (except for MaizePro DT, Forage Rooter, CoolSeason and ForageGreen). Early sowing and under stress conditions (especially drought stress) may cause premature seed formation of some plant species (buckwheat, white mustard, oil radish, Phacelia). In these cases, it is recommended to stop the growth in time to prevent the seeds from ripening.