Field of crops

Catch and Cover Crops

Catch crops are widely and successfully used in Germany and The Netherlands to significantly improve the output of arable and energy crop rotations.

SAATEN UNION have led development of the catch crop systems by providing the market with a succession of excellent varieties and a wealth of technical expertise developed by the team at specialist plant breeder, PH PETERSEN. Elsoms are now working closely with SAATEN UNION'S team to make the same varieties and services available to UK farmers and growers.

What are Catch and Cover crops?

Catch and Cover crops can make as important a contribution to a farm’s overall income as major crop types through their effect on long term soil health. As a result, Catch and Cover crops warrant as much attention and input the main combinable and root crops their use is designed to support. Soil quality directly effects the yield potential of the crops that are grown in and on it and the objective of growing a Catch and Cover crop is to improve soil quality and hence yield and income potential. Catch and Cover cropping improves soil quality by protecting soil against erosion, locking in nitrogen, preventing nutrient loss, promoting biological activity and  improving soil structure.

The Benefits of Catch and Cover crops

Soil Nutrients

1. Soil Nutrients

Catch and cover crops improve the content and management of nutrients in the soil. Losses of existing nutrients due to leeching are reduced whilst through incorporation and/or through the nature of the Catch and Cover crop nutrient levels can be increased and released back into the soil at a time when the next crop can use them.

Soil Structure

2. Soil Structure

The vigorous, extensive and deep rooting habits of Catch and Cover crops such as CONTRA RADISH can significantly improve the structure and quality of soil.

Soil Health

3. Soil Health

Catch and Cover crops can have a very beneficial effect on soil health with respect to pests and diseases such as, for example, Take All, Beet Cyst Nematode, Potato Cyst Nematode etc. They can also prevent the build-up of diseases such as club root.

Water Management

4. Water Management

A vigorous Catch and Cover crop will provide excellent ground cover that will significantly reduce soil moisture loss due to evaporation during the summer. The water holding capacity of soil can be considerably improved as a result of an increase in humus content produced by the use of a Catch and Cover crop. For example increasing the soil humus content by 0.5% can lead to soil being able to hold an additional 70 m3 of water per ha whilst improvements in soil structure will improve the rate at which soil drains.

Reduced risk of soil 
	
	erosion

5. Reduced risk of soil erosion

The presence of a Catch and Cover crop with a strong root structure and good ground cover will significantly reduce the risk of soil erosion whilst a crop is growing as well as over the longer term. This is of particular importance on fens and light, sandy soils.

Weed Control

6. Weed Control

Catch and Cover crops perform an excellent role in suppressing weeds and volunteers by smothering them with their dense canopies and vigorous growth. Companion seeding between crops can reduce the requirement for herbicides.

Bees and Insects

7. Bees and Insects

Catch and Cover crops can provide a much needed and plentiful source of late fodder for bees and other beneficial insects.

Bio Mass

8. Bio Mass

As well as improving the yield potential of other crops, Catch and Cover crops can provide a direct tangible benefit by improving the bio mass available for AD plants and silage for livestock.


Types of Energy Crop
Choose a Energy Crop category:
  • Phacelia is not related to the major agricultural crop types and belongs to the Hydrophylloideae family. As such this makes it an ideal catch crop, especially for arable rotations containing Oilseed Rape and vegetable brassica rotations, where including radish and mustard could be problematic. Rapidly establishing and deep rooted, Phacelia performs an excellent role in reducing soil erosion and improving soil structure. It can perform a valuable role in controlling club root as it is not a host plant for this disease. Phacelia can also contribute to the management of slugs.

  • Incredibly vigorous, with a wide sowing window and very high biomass yield, Rye is the ideal low input catch crop to precede a late spring sown crop.

  • Rapidly establishes high yields of biomass and has a beneficial effect on reducing Root Lesion and Stubby Root Knot Nematode. Faster establishing than annual ryegrass Saia Oats are ideal for weed suppression and reducing soil erosion, making them an ideal choice for light sandy soils.

  • Oil Radish combines early establishment with a vigorous growth habit, deep root structure and dense foliage. Depending on the variety chosen, oil radish can contribute significantly to the management of soil borne pests and diseases such as Beet Cyst Nematodes, Root Knot Nematode and Tobacco Rattle Virus.

  • White (Forage) Mustard such as ASCOT has been used for many years by farmers as a cheap, easy and effective short term catch crop following the cereal harvest. In addition to the classical white mustard segment, farmers are now able to select varieties such as MASTER that can be very effective in controlling soil borne diseases such as Beet Cyst Nematode (BCN). In addition both types of mustard can play an important role in reducing levels of rhizoctonia in the soil whilst their ability to assist in the control of soil borne pathogens in the horticultural industry is attracting strong interest from growers looking for an alternative to chemical sterila

  • Individual catch crops can significantly improve the efficiency and output of an overall rotation. Working closely with farmers and growers, SAATEN UNION'S catch crop specialists at PH PETERSEN have successfully developed a number of specialist mixes that combine different catch crop species to excellent effect in a range of Green Manure blends.

Speak to our specialists:

Phacelia

Angelia

This thin stemmed variety has become a firm favourite with growers for green manure and erosion control catch crops. ANGELIA establishes rapidly suppressing weeds and conserving soil moisture. It is a nematode neutral crop and it's deep roots have a beneficial effect on soil structure as well as combining with it's dense ground cover to actively reduce the risk of soil erosion.

Angelia

  • Ideal for Oilseed Rape and vegetable brassica rotations
  • Rapid establishment and growth
  • Thin stemmed variety

Forage Rye

Lunator

LUNATOR delivers high dry matter yields with excellent quality at an early harvest date before maize sowing. Exclusively marketed through Agrii

Lunator

  • Ideal for energy crops
  • Very early wholecrop harvest

Saia Oat

Tradex

  • Ideal for arable and root crop rotation
  • Impressive all-round qualities
  • Rapid early establishment

Oil Radish

Contra

An impressive multi - resistant variety, CONTRA is quick to establish, late to flower and provides all the benefits of classic oil radishes by been extremley deep rooted improving soil structure and stability. Its multi-resistant qualities make it a powerhouse in the management of nematodes in many vegetable and arable crop rotations with specific qualities in root crop and sugar beet crops.

Contra

  • Impressive multi-resistant variety
  • Long vegetable growth
  • Deep/intensive roots

Gallius

Gallius

  • Very effective classic type
  • Establishes rapidly, deep root structure
  • Suppresses weeds and improves soil structure

Comet

  • Level 1 control of BCN
  • Deep and fine rooting system
  • Strong initial development

Concorde

  • Level 2 control of BCN
  • Very rapid initial development
  • Long vegetable growth

White Mustard

Ascot

  • Establishes and develops rapidly
  • Excellent weed suppression
  • Drought tolerant

Master

  • Effective against BCN
  • Rapid initial development
  • Good erosion control

Viterra® Green Manure

RAPS

The undemanding drought tollerant blend, RAPS is a mix of Phacelia ANGELIA, flax ZOLTAN, Persian and Egyptian clover. An ideal partner to brassica and cereal rotations, this blend is crucifer free, drought tollerant and not related to the main production crops so disrupts the disease cycle whilst improving soil struture. The Phacelia and flax flowers provide nectar for bird and insects and the mix freezes off reliably for easier preperation for the following crop.

RAPS

  • Frost susceptible Green manure - no crucifers or cereals
  • Phacelia, Linseed and Clovers
  • Ideal for OSR and vegetable brassica rotations

Untersaat

This grass blend of Italian and German ryegrass is designed for undersowing of maize crops. Vigourous Italian ryegrass combined with later German ryegrass ensure good growth throughout the season. UNTERSAAT stabilises the soil protecting it from errosiona nd run off over winter and binds any remaining available nitrogen.

Untersaat

  • Undersowing Maize blend
  • Blend of Ryegrass stabilises soil during maize growth and after harvest
  • Protects soil from erosion

Biene

An annual bee/fallow mix for agricultural environmental areas that is free from Crucifers and grasses for more varied rotations. BIENE is a blend of 11 components selected for their biodiverse properties with a long flowering period

Biene

  • Annual Bee/Insect mix - Crucifer and grass free
  • Blend with 11 different components
  • Rapidly establishing

Blühzauber

This visually pleasing blend of over 40 individual varieties combine to provide a source of nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies and insects. BLUHZAUBER flowers continuously from May into autumn improving the image of the landscape where it is sown.

Blühzauber

  • Wildflower mixture
  • Over 40 varieties with different colors and shapes
  • Source of nectar for bees and insects *not suitable for broad acre sowings*

Nitro Turbo

Nitro Turbo

  • High dry matter yield
  • Rapid establishment
  • Nitrogen fixing

Potato

A specially selected blend of different species, this mix is designed to improve and enhance the soil. POTATO is a combination of species designed to improve soil structure and enrich it for optimum health prior to intensive potato cultivation. Blue Lupin ILDIGO and common vetch improve the nitrate availability in the soil while oil radish CONTROL penetrates the soil with its deep roots opening up the structure. Saia oat PRATEX and flax JULIET provide rapid inital develpment offering soil protection whilst knitting the soil surface together to reduce erosion.

Potato

  • Soil fertility blend for light to medium soils with medium pH values
  • Multi resistant and nematode resistant oil radishes plus Saia oat, Blue lupins and Linseed

Beet (Rube)

A profesional blend designed for high performance nematode control. RUBE is a mix of 2 nematode resistant oil radishes and white mustards selected for their optimum control characteristics. A high plant density of 160 plants/m2 allows active nemetode control at the highest level. RUBE is suited for mid to late sowings across all soil types with its roots penetrating deep into the lower soil layers to reduce nematodes deep in the profile.

Beet (Rube)

  • Blend for active control of BCN
  • Nematode resistant oil radishes and nematode resistant white mustard

Trio

This frost sensitive green manure blend is ideally suited to later sowings in arable rotations. TRIO is ideal for areas coming out of cereals and going into sugar/beetroot cropping. It is fast to establish with a mixture of root sizes throughout the profile. Its components reliably freeze down to leave a mulch base that offers good erosion protection untill sowing in spring.

Trio

  • Green manure crop
  • Phacelia, clover, BCN oil radish
  • Sugar beet, maize, OSR and cereals

Mulch

Mulch

  • Green manure crop - no legumes
  • Black oat and BCN oil radish
  • Maize, sugar beet, potatoes and cereals

Universal Winter

This crucifer free over winter cover blend is suitable for sowing in a wide variety of situations. UNIVERSAL WINTER is an evergreen crop which is fast to establish. Its non inclusuion of crufifer and legume species make it an ideal over winter cover for rotations of spring planted brassica and legume crops. It quickly binds nitrogen in the soil protecting groundwater and stabilises soil structure reducing over winter erosion.

Universal Winter

  • Frost hardy green manure - no crucifers or legumes
  • Saia oat, ryegrass and phacelia
  • Ideal for OSR/vegetable brassica rotations where over winter cover is required

Pratoleg

Pratoleg

  • Green manure/whole crop - no crucifers
  • Black oat, clover and forage pea
  • Ideal for OSR, cereals and sugar beet

Granoleg

An excellent whole crop blend for biomass/silage production after an early cereal harvest. GRANOLEG maintains soil tilth over summer and contains a summer field pea that provides aditional nitrogen for the stressed soil that keeps its cereal partners greener for longer.

Granoleg

  • Whole crop cereal blend with vetch
  • Triticale, rye, Saia oats, oats and field pea
  • Ideal for low fertility sites

Protovid

Protovid

  • Innovative whole crop rye blend
  • Spring and winter rye
  • Harvest autumn and spring

Bio Fumigation

This is a special blend designed for controling soil borne diseases. A mix of multi resistant oil radish DEFENDER and brown mustard ENERGY, these two varieties have been selected for their high isothiocyanate levels as a key atribute to the biofumigation process. It is a very fast growing blend with a short time frame of 7-8 weeks suitable for sowing before potatoes, legumes and root vegetable crops.

Bio Fumigation

  • Biofumigant mix to reduce soil borne pests
  • Brown mustard and multi resistant oil radish
  • For intensive vegetable and root crop rotations

Multikulti

An annual bee/fallow mix for agricultural environmental areas. MULTIKULTI consists of 12 species selected for their good biodiversity and useage. The roots penetrate the soil at different levels stabilising the structure and its 'grass free' nature allows for easier cultivations further in the rotation.

Multikulti

  • Diverse flowing mix - no grasses
  • Ideal for bee pastures/verges
  • Stablises and protects soil

Wickroggen

This winter hardy biomass blend is suitable for both cover and fodder use. WICKROGGEN is a mix of MATADOR rye and winter vetch. The rye is fast to establish and grows aggressively with an extensive root structure and high biomass. This is complemented by the vetch which improves soil fertility and improves the performance of the rye also fixing nitrogen to be available for the following crop. Ideal for late sowing, it can be used in rotations before brassica, beet and cereal crops.

Wickroggen

  • Winter hardy whole crop blend
  • Winter rye and vetch
  • Ideal for late sowing

Intensiv

The high performance blend for intensive cropping programs, INTENSIV is a mix of two very powerful varieties for optimum performance. An excellent combination of multi resistant oil radish DEFENDER and Saia oat PRATEX make it a power house for the improvement and stabilisation of soil structure, weed suppression and improvement of organic matter. DEFENDER maintains the positive nemetode control atributes of multi resistant radish combined with the control of Pratylenchus spp. from PRATEX. Suitable for inclusion in all crop rotations with particular benefit to potato, beet and intensive root crop rotations.

Intensiv

  • Recovery mix for intensive root vegetable and potato crop rotations
  • Saia oat and multi-resistant oil radish
  • Impressive effect on stabilising soil structure and catching nutrients

Granopur

An excellent whole crop blend for biomass/silage production after an early cereal harvest. GRANOPUR maintains soil tilth over summer and is idealy suited to subsequent following potato and vegetable rotations. With no crucifers or legumes it allows more flexibility in the following rotation.

Granopur

  • Excellent whole crop cereal blend
  • Triticale, rye and Saia oat
  • Rapidly establishing

Universal

A crucifer free, fast growing green manure/cover blend. UNIVERSAL is a mix of Phacelia ANGELIA and Saia oat PRATEX combined with clover and Vetch. With a wide sowing window from April to September, it is suitable for late spring to late summer sown cover that provides dense ground cover supressing weeds. the inclusion of legumes can help to improve soil notrogen and when planted early can help to retain soil moisture over the summer. Suitable for brassica, beet and cereal rotations. A legume free version is also available for pea/bean crop rotations.

Universal

  • Frost susceptible green manure - no crucifers
  • Phacelia, Saia oat and Clovers
  • Ideal for OSR and vegetable brassica rotations