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Fertility & Humus Building

Green Manures

Fertility & Humus Building

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Slash N Costs and Improve Your Soil

Arable farmers can slash N costs with these soil improving crops. According to John Nix’s Farm Management Pocketbook, fertiliser prices increased by 45% each year between 2003-2009. To save money, some farmers are now producing their own N by growing fertility building crops in rotations.

Many plants are suitable, but some are better than others. Clovers increase soil nitrogen levels; grasses produce durable soil structure improvements. Grown together in mixtures, they can improve the yield of subsequent crops and reduce the fertiliser bill.

We have published a guide to green manures, Sort Out Your Soil, available free of charge on this site.  Download the pdf or read online here.

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Green Manures Seeds...

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Fertility Builder: One-Two Year Mixture

Ref: MIXFB
Sowing rate: 9 kg per acre (22.5 kg/ha, 2.25 g/m²)

Grow this mixture of red and white clover with perennial ryegrass to improve soil fertility and structure. To realise its full potential it should be grown for at least one full year before incorporation. Red clover fixes up to 300 kg N/ha which is made available in the form of nitrate and is released rapidly after incorporation. To delay the release of nitrogen, clover should be mixed with grass. The grass is higher in carbon and acts like a sponge, holding the N for longer. This is especially important for autumn-sown crops such as winter wheat where the highest demand for for N can be six or seven months after the green crop has been incorporated. A mixture also offers more weed competition and removes the risk of a single species failure. White clover is included for its ability to improve soil structure. Regular topping, ideally with a flail mower, will be necessary. The first topping will be required in May, followed at monthly intervals until growth slows in August. After incorporation a minimum of three weeks should be allowed before sowing the next crop. These seeds need a fine and firm seed bed. They can be broadcast or shallow drilled (no deeper than 10 mm).

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acres

Contents

2.65kg (29.4%)
certified MERULA red clover
0.50kg (5.6%)
certified ALICE white clover
5.85kg (65%)
certified GLENSTAL tet. Perennial ryegrass
6.63 kg (29.4%)
certified MERULA red clover
1.25 kg (5.6%)
certified ALICE white clover
14.63 kg (65%)
certified GLENSTAL tet. Perennial ryegrass
0.29 kg (29.4%)
certified MERULA red clover
0.06 kg (5.6%)
certified ALICE white clover
0.65 kg (65%)
certified GLENSTAL tet. Perennial ryegrass
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Humus Builder Soil Structure Improver Two-Four Year Mixture

Ref: MIXHB
Sowing rate: 7.5 kg per acre (18.75 kg/ha, 1.875 g/m²)

Utilising very strong tap root species for massive improvements to soil structure and humus build up. Provided that this mixture is left in the ground for at least two years it adds more organic matter to the soil than the ryegrass-based type. Cocksfoot is significantly deeper rooting than ryegrass and will keep growing well during dry seasons. This may mean more topping but remember the principle role of a green manure is to add as much organic matter as possible. Sow by mid September.

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acres

Contents

4.00kg (53.3%)
certified MERULA red clover
0.50kg (6.7%)
certified PUNA II chicory
3.00kg (40%)
certified SPARTA cocksfoot
10 kg (53.3%)
certified MERULA red clover
1.25 kg (6.7%)
certified PUNA II chicory
7.5 kg (40%)
certified SPARTA cocksfoot
0.53 kg (53.3%)
certified MERULA red clover
0.07 kg (6.7%)
certified PUNA II chicory
0.4 kg (40%)
certified SPARTA cocksfoot
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Summer Quick Fix Mix

Ref: MIXSQF
Sowing rate: 6 kg per acre (15 kg/ha, 1.5 g/m²)

The purpose of this mixture is to build soil nitrogen. It is a fast-growing, annual mixture that is at its best when sown into warm soils from May - July. After only 10 weeks the mixture will be ready for incorporation. Ensure that the mixture is topped/incorporated at the onset of flowering so that it does not set seed. It should be broadcast or shallow drilled at no more than 10mm.

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acres

Contents

1.80kg (30%)
certified Sverka mustard
1.50kg (25%)
certified Crimson Clover Covercoat & Rhizobia
0.30kg (5%)
certified MERULA red clover
0.60kg (10%)
commercial sweet clover
0.90kg (15%)
certified LASER persian clover
0.90kg (15%)
certified AKENATON egyption/berseem clover
4.5 kg (30%)
certified Sverka mustard
3.75 kg (25%)
certified Crimson Clover Covercoat & Rhizobia
0.75 kg (5%)
certified MERULA red clover
1.5 kg (10%)
commercial sweet clover
2.25 kg (15%)
certified LASER persian clover
2.25 kg (15%)
certified AKENATON egyption/berseem clover
0.3 kg (30%)
certified Sverka mustard
0.25 kg (25%)
certified Crimson Clover Covercoat & Rhizobia
0.05 kg (5%)
certified MERULA red clover
0.1 kg (10%)
commercial sweet clover
0.15 kg (15%)
certified LASER persian clover
0.15 kg (15%)
certified AKENATON egyption/berseem clover
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Yellow Trefoil/White Clover Intercrop Mixture

Ref: MIXINT
Sowing rate: 3 kg per acre (7.5 kg/ha, 0.75 g/m²)

This mixture will fill the base of a main crop brassica or cereal without affecting its yield. It reduces weed competition, adds organic matter and fixes nitrogen. A mixture of species usually provides better results than just a single one. This is due to the different growth characteristics of each species throughout the life of the crop, plus more reliable establishment. Yellow trefoil is a low-growing annual which can be undersown into a cash crop in the spring, providing a vigorous green manure once the main crop is harvested. It tolerates shade and this makes it ideal for undersowing and suppressing weeds within an upstanding crop. Seed should be broadcast from mid March and before the host crop canopy closes in. Yellow trefoil can make available up to 125 kg N per hectare for the following crop. Trefoil can be sown into a range of crops including spring cereals, brassicas and maize. It rarely interferes with harvest as it grows low to the ground. (This can be sown on its own - see right). White clover is a perennial plant with a similar low growing habit to yellow trefoil. It is slightly slower to establish but can get very strong in late summer when yellow trefoil slows. This strong growth can eliminate many weeds, especially if left in the ground for a second year.

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acres

Contents

1.05kg (35%)
certified VIRGO PAJBJERG yellow trefoil
1.95kg (65%)
certified ABERHERALD white clover
2.63 kg (35%)
certified VIRGO PAJBJERG yellow trefoil
4.88 kg (65%)
certified ABERHERALD white clover
0.35 kg (35%)
certified VIRGO PAJBJERG yellow trefoil
0.65 kg (65%)
certified ABERHERALD white clover
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Rye/Vetch Over-Winter Mix

Ref: MIXRYEV
Sowing rate: 75 kg per acre (187.5 kg/ha, 18.75 g/m²)

Growing a N lifter and a fixer together is the best way of improving soils over winter. Cereal rye and vetch are excellent companions and usually very reliable. The mixture can be sown from mid September until mid October. Incorporation is carried out from February until late April. Please order this seed early as rye seed is usually combined, cleaned and sown in the same season.

Rye seed is usually available from early Septmeber, not before.  Any orders placed for this product will be held on our system and sent as soon as the seed arrives with us.

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acres

Contents

48.75kg (65%)
certified CONDUCT forage rye
26.25kg (35%)
certified EARLY ENGLISH vetch
121.88 kg (65%)
certified CONDUCT forage rye
65.63 kg (35%)
certified EARLY ENGLISH vetch
0.65 kg (65%)
certified CONDUCT forage rye
0.35 kg (35%)
certified EARLY ENGLISH vetch
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Ryegrass/Vetch Over-Winter Mix

Ref: MIXWWV
Sowing rate: 25 kg per acre (62.5 kg/ha, 6.25 g/m²)

A mixture of westerwolds ryegrass and vetch is an economical, effective option for over-winter soil management. Sowing should take place by late September. The mixture can be incorporated in April or May. (For livestock farms it may be left and made into silage in late May.) Westerwolds ryegrass will regrow after cutting so can be left through the summer for further cutting or mulching. To minimise the risk of ryegrass seed being shed, it is advisable to cut before the seed heads are visible.

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acres

Contents

8.00kg (32%)
certified LEMNOS westerwolds ryegrass
17.00kg (68%)
certified EARLY ENGLISH vetch
20 kg (32%)
certified LEMNOS westerwolds ryegrass
42.5 kg (68%)
certified EARLY ENGLISH vetch
0.32 kg (32%)
certified LEMNOS westerwolds ryegrass
0.68 kg (68%)
certified EARLY ENGLISH vetch
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Rye (Secale cereale)

Ref: ELEGO
Sowing rate: 75 kg per acre (187.5 kg/ha, 18.75 g/m²)

N Lifter. This cereal makes good growth into the winter and scavenges more soil N than any other, and is therefore one of the best winter green manures. It is especially good when mixed with vetch. Sow from mid September until November. The price above is a guide price and will be confirmed at the time of purchase.

Rye seed is usually available from early Septmeber, not before.  Any orders placed for this product will be held on our system and sent as soon as the seed arrives with us.

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acres

Contents

75.00kg (100%)
certified ELEGO winter rye
187.5 kg (100%)
certified ELEGO winter rye
1 kg (100%)
certified ELEGO winter rye
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Vetch (Vicia sativa)

Ref: VET
Sowing rate: 35 kg per acre (87.5 kg/ha, 8.75 g/m²)

N Fixer. This is a winter-hardy annual which can be grown on its own to fix large amounts of N, or with westerwolds or rye for the protection of soils over the winter. This is the best legume for over wintering and can be left until May when it produces around 200kgN/ha. Best sown during September and by mid October. Vetch makes good silage too and is often mixed with oats. For this sow 25 kg vetch and 50 kg oats. 

First hand
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acres

Contents

35.00kg (100%)
Vetch
87.5 kg (100%)
Vetch
1 kg (100%)
Vetch
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Westerwolds Ryegrass (Lolium mul. westerwoldicum)

Ref: AUB
Sowing rate: 14 kg per acre (35 kg/ha, 3.5 g/m²)

This is an annual form of ryegrass which is very fast to establish and produce forage. It is the only grass to produce a stem and seed head from a spring sowing making it suitable for the production of hay for horses. It is a very good N Lifter and is very quick to make a large root mass making it suitable as a green manure. It is less expensive than cereal rye (below) and is popular for this reason. It effectively seeks out and mops up nitrate in soil. Used on its own or as a companion with nitrogen fixing vetch.

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acres

Contents

14.00kg (100%)
certified Westerwold ryegrass
35 kg (100%)
certified Westerwold ryegrass
1 kg (100%)
certified Westerwold ryegrass
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Yellow Trefoil (Medicago lupulina)

Ref: VIRGO
Sowing rate: 4 kg per acre (10 kg/ha, 1 g/m²)

N Fixer. A low-growing annual ideal for undersowing to spring cereal to fix N and suppress weeds. Broadcast in May after cereal established.

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acres

Contents

4.00kg (100%)
Yellow Trefoil
10 kg (100%)
Yellow Trefoil
1 kg (100%)
Yellow Trefoil
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White Clover (Trifolium repens)

Ref: ABERP
Sowing rate: 4 kg per acre (10 kg/ha, 1 g/m²)

N Fixer. A low-growing clover for undersowing, N fixation and weed suppression. Often mixed with yellow trefoil. Sow between March and September.

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acres

Contents

3.00kg (75%)
certified ABERPEARL white clover
7.5 kg (75%)
certified ABERPEARL white clover
0.75 kg (75%)
certified ABERPEARL white clover
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Mustard (Sinapis alba)

Ref: SARM
Sowing rate: 8 kg per acre (20 kg/ha, 2 g/m²)

N Lifter. Fast growing weed suppressor. Reduces wireworm population. Not usually winter hardy. Sow between May and August.

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acres

Contents

8.00kg (100%)
certified mustard
20 kg (100%)
certified mustard
1 kg (100%)
certified mustard
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Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia)

Ref: STALA
Sowing rate: 4 kg per acre (10 kg/ha, 1 g/m²)

N Lifter. Fast to establish summer cover. Large root mass to improve soil. Good on light soils. Sow from May. Destroy at flowering or it will set seed.

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acres

Contents

4.00kg (100%)
certified phacelia
10 kg (100%)
certified phacelia
1 kg (100%)
certified phacelia
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Sweet Clover (Melilotus spp)

Ref: SWE
Sowing rate: 6 kg per acre (15 kg/ha, 1.5 g/m²)

N Fixer. Biennial. Fast to establish from May sowings. Strong rooting plant for soil structure improvement. Must be effectively destroyed to avoid volunteers.

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acres

Contents

6.00kg (100%)
Sweet Clover
15 kg (100%)
Sweet Clover
1 kg (100%)
Sweet Clover
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Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Ref: MERULA
Sowing rate: 6 kg per acre (15 kg/ha, 1.5 g/m²)

N Fixer. The best clover for N fixation, soil structure and weed suppression. Sow March to September. Lasts for at least two years and will make silage.

Red clover can be used as part of your greening measures, as a 'pasture legume' or a 'nitrogen fixing crop' option.

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acres

Contents

6.00kg (100%)
Red Clover
15 kg (100%)
Red Clover
1 kg (100%)
Red Clover
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Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum)

Ref: KAR
Sowing rate: 6 kg per acre (15 kg/ha, 1.5 g/m²)

N Fixer. Annual legume sown late summer or after harvest by mid September for winter sheep keep. Will flower if left until May.

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acres

Contents

6.00kg (100%)
certified DIOGNE crimson clover
15 kg (100%)
certified DIOGNE crimson clover
1 kg (100%)
certified DIOGNE crimson clover
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Persian Clover (Trifolium respusinatum)

Ref: MARCO
Sowing rate: 4 kg per acre (10 kg/ha, 1 g/m²)

N Fixer. An annual for short term use. Can be sown in spring or autumn. Will grow well on slightly acidic and clay soils. Best used in mixtures with grass. Can be foraged.

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acres

Contents

4.00kg (100%)
certified Marco Polo persian clover
10 kg (100%)
certified Marco Polo persian clover
1 kg (100%)
certified Marco Polo persian clover
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Certified Berseem Clover

Ref: AKEN
Sowing rate: 6 kg per acre (15 kg/ha, 1.5 g/m²)

Berseem Clover is also referred to as Egyptian Clover, it will establish rapidly in warm temperatures but will be killed by winter frosts. It is an annual clover which shares similar properties to Persian Clover. Sow into warm soils from May-September. 

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acres

Contents

6.00kg (100%)
Certified Berseem Clover
15 kg (100%)
Certified Berseem Clover
1 kg (100%)
Certified Berseem Clover
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Buckwheat

Ref: LILE
Sowing rate: 28 kg per acre (70 kg/ha, 7 g/m²)

Buckwheat is an annual that grows very quickly.  It should be sown between April and June.  It is not frost hardy but is good at scavenging phosphate from the soil.  It is a weed supressor, but not a nitrgoen fixer.

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acres

Contents

28.00kg (100%)
certified buckwheat
70 kg (100%)
certified buckwheat
1 kg (100%)
certified buckwheat
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Tillage Radish

Ref: till
Sowing rate: 3 kg per acre (7.5 kg/ha, 0.75 g/m²)

The Tillage Radish has a particularly deep tap root, which helps to improve soils structure and drainage by drilling down through heavy soils and compacted layers.

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acres

Contents

3.00kg (100%)
Structuator Tillage Radish
7.5 kg (100%)
Structuator Tillage Radish
1 kg (100%)
Structuator Tillage Radish
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Hairy Vetch

Ref: VILL
Sowing rate: 35 kg per acre (87.5 kg/ha, 8.75 g/m²)

Hairy vetch is an annual plant which is most commonly used as a green manure. It will re-seed itself if it is allowed to produce mature seed, this may lead to it becoming a weed problem in the future. 

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acres

Contents

35.00kg (100%)
certified Villana hairy vetch
87.5 kg (100%)
certified Villana hairy vetch
1 kg (100%)
certified Villana hairy vetch