Field demonstration of the efficacy of cover crops to reduce nitrate leaching : 2019-20

This report provides a summary at the end of year 2  of a 3 year pilot trial to demonstrate the feasibility of growing cover crops ahead of spring cropping as a means of reducing over-winter nitrate leaching losses from the shallow chalk soils found across much of Portsmouth Water’s catchment area.

As well as assessing the impact on water quality, the study will also evaluate the effect of cover cropping on subsequent spring crop yields and gross margins in order to demonstrate the impact for the whole farm business. The work is being undertaken on a commercial farm in Hampshire over three cropping seasons (2018-2021), with a new field selected each season according to the host farmer’s crop rotation (i.e. a field that is scheduled for spring barley).