Optimising catch crops in arable farming in Austria

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Set up an operational group to test different practices for optimal catch crop management and assess their efficiency in reducing nitrogen and carbon emissions.

Project summary: 

Catch crops reduce nitrate leaching to deeper soil layers and gaseous nitrogen and carbon emissions. Hence catch crops are an important measure for groundwater protection. To achieve an optimised “Catch Crop Function” many factors must be taken into account, starting from the sowing of the catch crop; up to the release of nutrients from the died-off catch crop plants. Some of these factors have not been investigated before.

In this context, the project set up an operational group to test different practices for optimal catch crop management and assess their efficiency in reducing nitrogen and carbon emissions.

Project results: 

Hosted a public workshop titled “Catch crop management today” with domestic and foreign experts.

6 practical field trials with a total of 58 variants were set up, covering each of the arable farming regions of Austria. In addition, plots with 35 cover crop species were established.

6 very successful field days were held, involving 4 agricultural colleges and a total of 430 participants.

The results were published in four articles in agricultural newspapers.