Ukrainian farmers become more interested in cover crops


Ukrainian farmers that adopt soil conservation technologies become more interested in cover crops. It should be no surprise, as they act as green manures, conserve soil moisture, restore fertility, control weeds, etc.

Cover crops On June 19-20 Agro-Soyuz held a workshop “Cover crops as an alternative soil cover”.

The event gathered agricultural producers from Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Poltava, Lugansk and Vinnitsa regions of Ukraine. It should be noted that the event was interesting both for small farmers (up to 170 ha) and for rather large agricultural producers (more than 3,000 ha). This emphasizes the relevance of the discussed topics. About 30% of producers use cover crops in their crop rotations, whereas the rest of the audience are just monitoring the situation. Thus, they decided to come to the Holding that has been studying cover crops effect on soil fertility and the yield for 18 years (not just academically, but in practice: the arable land of Agro-Soyuz is about 10,000 ha).

The guests were interested in almost everything: which crops can be selected as cover crops, why a cover crop mix is more efficient than a monoculture (by the way, Agro-Soyuz was experimenting with this for many years), what is the best time to seed cover crops, how to terminate their growth efficiently...

Cover cropsOne of the most interesting questions raised during the workshop was how to reduce mineral fertilizer rate. Due to active interaction with the soil and its microorganisms, cover crops are considered to be natural fertilizer, which improves nutrients accumulation in the soil. On the other hand, successful introduction of cover crops into crop rotation makes it possible to convert to organic farming due to significant reduction of mineral fertilizer dosage.

A practical session at the end of the workshop allowed the guests to see the fields of Agro-Soyuz Holding’s farm, which has been in conservation farming for 20 years.

“We see that our farmers are very much interested in these events. While the topic of cover crops has long been relevant abroad, this is a relatively new field for Ukraine. We study the experience of top farms, keep contact with foreign practitioners, establish demonstration plots with different mixes at our farm and readily share our experience with anyone who is interested, – says Dudkina Elena, agronomist of Agro-Soyuz.