PFN Hessen –
Praxisforschung für den ökologischen Land- und Gemüsebau
Binsförther Straße 26 | 34326 Neumorschen
Tel.: +49 (0) 5664 9381698 | Fax: +49 (0) 5664 939772
Demo field PFN Hesse
Tine seed drill? Coverseeder? ‘Geohobel’?
Establishing catch crops is becoming more and more difficult with increasing drought. What role do different sowing techniques play in this? We have tried it out. The comparison of different sowing techniques for catch crops was on display at the well-attended field day at Peter Arndt’s Hof Capelle. The advantages and disadvantages of the sowing techniques used were illustrated by means of the demo field and initial results from analysing the growth.
The demo field
Immediately after the wheat harvest (14 August 2023), demo strips of the catch crop MaisPro TR (DSV TerraLife organic) were sown with these sowing machines:
The Coverseeder can sow in crop residues and cover the seed in a single work step without prior tillage. Organic material is not worked into the soil. The Geohobel works with a special planing knife that shreds and mixes 3 – 5 cm of topsoil including stubble. Both devices create a mulch layer that helps to regulate the hydrological balance and prevent erosion. This is particularly important when the catch crop seed is threatened by persistent drought. Both techniques also promise to regulate weeds and volunteer cereals. The variant usually used on the farm uses the Tine seed drill as a sowing technique. This is preceded by two tillage passes with the cultivator. Which variant performed best on our demo field? To find out, four 50cm² biomass sections were cut on 5 October 2023 and the dry matter of the growth per species was determined for all variants.
In both sowing variants without prior tillage (Coverseeder and Geohobel), the proportion of volunteer cereals (wheat) was highest. A significantly lower proportion of weeds and volunteer cereals was found in the variant usually used on the farm with two tillage operations. Direct sowing without prior tillage can be particularly advantageous when the residual moisture in the crop is to be optimally utilised. As the precipitation levels on site were sufficient for the establishment of the intercrop in the trial year 2023, the potential of this technique could not be sufficiently evaluated in this year.
The new GAEC standards
In addition to the main topic of the field day, Philipp Heimel from the LLH gave a presentation on “The new CAP from 2023 – practical implementation” with a focus on the implementation of the standards for good agricultural and environmental condition of land (GAEC) 5, 6, 7, 8 on the farms. The presentation is available for download here.
Further information can be found on the following websites: