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A practical guide for using green crops in New Zealand

January 2024

This guidebook aims to make it easier for NZ farmers to use green crops more confidently and effectively. Doing so will improve nutrient creation and retention, soil and water quality as well as profitability.

Different types of green crops can be specifically chosen to add nitrogen (N) into the soil (legumes); add carbon (C) in to the soil (cereals/grains & grasses); and smother weeds, reduce diseases and provide habitat for beneficial insects to protect your main crop from pests.

In this guidebook we use “green crops” as one simple name for cover crops, green manure crops, catch crops and flowering green crops.

This guidebook focuses on using green crops for growing vegetables but the contents also apply to:

  • Fallow rotations in arable cropping & grazing systems
  • Inter-row plantings in viticulture & orchards
  • Edible mixed species for stock grazing
  • Catch cropping to absorb and minimise N leaching after N-rich crops or grazing

This guidebook is also summarised in 3 video resources available at: ourlandandwater.nz/green-crops

5024 KB | Adobe Acrobat PDF File

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